Get ready to learn a new way of translating ideas into impact

I2N’s Navigator equips you with the skills and mindset to discover the massive potential of your invention or research project.

This 2-day face-to-face experience will familiarise you with practical tools and an action plan for turning ideas into impact.

You will be introduced to powerful tools and frameworks that shine new light on your pathway to impact for every research project you undertake.

This includes giving you time to 'get out of the building’ and gather information about:

  • The people that have the problem you are attempting to solve;
  • The people who influence or support the impact of your research outputs;
  • The most important aspects of the solution to develop; and
  • The first versions of your value proposition

You will come away with the ability to confidently present your impact potential to stakeholders and have a clear direction for likely pathways to impact your idea.

Get ready for some challenging, but highly rewarding few days.

Did you miss the I2N Programs Info Session? Watch the recording and get first-hand experience of researchers and founders from previous cohorts.

Important dates

Applications open Wednesday 13 October 2021

Applications close 5:00PM Tuesday 9 November 2021

The program runs from 9-10 December 2021 at I2N Hub Honeysuckle or via Zoom

Learn essential skills
  • Identify and validate the potential impact of your idea through the lens of end-users, beneficiaries, and stakeholders
  • Develop and refine your impact story
  • Articulate and iterate the unique value proposition of your idea
  • Present your idea that's focused on the problem you are solving
Who should attend
  • PhD students
  • Postdoctoral researchers
  • Early and mid-career researchers
What you will experience

This highly interactive 2-day program will see you get hands-on with the various components of exploring the impact potential of your idea or research. You will participate in simulations and work on your own idea under the guidance of expert facilitators at I2N Hub Honeysuckle. Gain strategies and access to tools for identifying and validating the impact of your idea, including:

  • Leveraging the experience and skills of yourself and those around you
  • Applying tools derived from lean startup, innovation, and design thinking
  • Understanding how to speak to customers to gain insights
  • Progressing your idea towards relevance and value
  • Effectively communicating the problem you are solving and the impact of your idea

"Navigator takes the best current research about what makes ideas become innovations in a way that STICKS and makes your personal investment in your idea worthwhile and bear the most fruit, fastest - do it!" Jacqueline Svenson, Newcastle Law School.

"Navigator has helped me to progress my project from a pipedream to an achievable goal. I am much better able to demonstrate the value and need for my project and can confidently present it to stakeholders. I have also made some amazing contacts and friends throughout the process." Katie Daly, Ph.D. student, School of Biomedical Sciences & Pharmacy.

"Navigator has helped me crystallise my understanding of how my solution addresses the problem. I feel confident in my capacity to communicate this as a result of the activities we did within the program. The energy and scope of material we covered within the course were great." Dr. Katie McGill, School of Medicine and Public Health.

"I have had a massive boost in confidence having taken part in Navigator. The program challenges you to be critical in your thinking, whilst stirring your thoughts to areas not yet considered. Being able to listen to others as well as receive peer review in a controlled environment is very rewarding." Mary Kazembe, Ph.D. student, Newcastle Business School.

Program schedule
Day 1 - Thu 9 Dec 2021 Day 2 - Fri 10 Dec 2021

9AM - 10:45AM

  • Program introduction
  • Idea to Impact framework
  • Making impact happen
  • Solving problems that matter


  • Pitch-it
  • Reflections and customer interview insights
  • Early adopters pyramid
  • How to tell the story of your idea

10:45AM -11AM

  • Break


  • Break

11AM - 12:30PM

  • Customer interview basics
  • Making requests for stakeholder interviews

10:45AM - 12:30PM

  • Worktime
  • Learning playback preparation

12:30PM - 2:30PM

  • Lunch
  • Worktime
  • Group coaching sessions

12:30PM - 2:30PM

  • Worktime
  • Learning playback session

2:30PM - 4PM

  • Critical assumptions
  • Worktime
  • Group coaching sessions

2:30PM - 4PM

  • Action plan
  • Overall reflections and insights

4 - 5PM

  • Guest speaker
  • Networking


Emily Chang has led the design and execution of pre-accelerator and acceleration programs in Australia, including CSIRO ON. She is an organisational and capability development professional with experience working across the private industry, government, and the research sector. Her core strengths are facilitation, experimental learning program design and management, leadership development, and change management.

Jonathan Lacey has a background as a researcher in photonics at the University of Melbourne. After 10 years in Silicon Valley working with a Fortune 500 company and a number of startups, Jonathan led a Monash University spin-out as CEO. An experienced business leader and researcher, Jonathan understands the value of knowledge exchange pathways including commercialisation having worked more recently at CSIRO in business development and as a CSIRO ON facilitator.


University of Newcastle staff and students receive complimentary access to the program.

For participants with no affiliation to the University, there is a $990 fee payable prior to commencement of the program.


Where will Navigator take place? The program will take place at I2N Hub Honeysuckle, Q Building, 16 Honeysuckle Dr, Newcastle.

What is the attendance requirement of the program? Attendance for the entire program is mandatory. Exceptions will be considered only in exceptional circumstances and on a case-by-case basis. Each applicant should consider carefully their capacity to commit to the program before making an expression of interest. Participants who attend the full program and demonstrate a minimum commitment to genuine customer discovery will receive a certificate of achievement.

What are you looking for in an application? Applications are reviewed before offers are made to individuals who address essential criteria. That is, describe the research you are working on. Then, define the problem your research is attempting to understand, who the potential end-users/beneficiaries are, and which industry sector you believe your idea aligns to. Your answer doesn't have to be 'right', it just needs to demonstrate that you have thought about the problem area your research aligns to, the insight or idea you are taking advantage of, and have provided your best possible 'guess' about what that might be and who would most benefit.

How many places are available in each cohort? Up to 20 individuals will be accepted into each cohort of Navigator. This program is highly regarded we receive more applications than there are places. Whilst it is a competitive program, only applications that best make the best attempt to are accepted and invited to attend. In some circumstances, this may mean the cohort has fewer than 10 teams.

Intellectual Property (IP)

The University of Newcastle makes no claim over the intellectual property (IP) generated by participants as part of the Navigator program (subject to the University’s IP Policy and Procedure) provided your use of the IP acknowledges that the IP was developed as part of the Navigator program (unless it is unreasonable to do so).

If a participant is an employee or student of the University of Newcastle, they agree and acknowledge that ownership of the IP will be in accordance with the University IP Policy and Procedure, as amended from time to time. IP Policy found here. IP Procedure found here.

Why I2N?

The University of Newcastle's I2N works with individuals and organisations from across the Hunter region and beyond to turn ideas and challenges into opportunities. As a leading driver of economic and business growth, the I2N cultivates an entrepreneurial mindset that is behind many of the region's most innovative businesses and leaders.

Our programs are more than theory. They are about action and equipping you with practical tools and strategies necessary to have an immediate impact on your innovation journey.

Make an application Navigator

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.