New CDL Recovery program assists with COVID‑19 effort

- May 7, 2020

File photo of a CDL class. (Provided photo from CDL)
File photo of a CDL class. (Provided photo from CDL)

The Creative Destruction Lab (CDL) has a mission to transform science projects into massively scalable products and services that benefit humankind. The program has recently decided turn its attention to contributing to the COVID-19 crisis response, and apply its proven model to assist with public health and economic recovery.

CDL Recovery is designed to rapidly transform technological innovations into useful products and services in the areas of public health (e.g., diagnostic tests, vaccines, remote treatments, telemedicine) and economic recovery (e.g. virtual work, retraining, remote operation, automation, food supply) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is designed to anticipate and address some of the most pressing needs that will arise over the next six to eighteen months.

A team-based approach

“CDL is all about finding ways to successfully translate science into social and economic impact, and this is needed now more than ever,” says Jeff Larsen, executive director, innovation and entrepreneurship at Dal. “The kind of innovative thinking that comes from this program will help us go a long way in the fight against the health and economic impact of COVID-19.”

Applications for CDL Recovery are now open. All types of innovative teams may apply, including start-ups, corporations, informal collaborations, sole inventors, social impact ventures, and not-for-profit initiatives. Successful applicants will be invited to a series of objective-setting sessions between now and August. They will then embark on a virtually delivered program that will utilize CDL’s objectives-based mentorship model. CDL Recovery will follow CDL’s typical program structure but will take place in half the time due to the pressing nature of the challenges presented by the pandemic.

The program will be run in partnership with Scale AI, a Canadian investment and innovation hub that funds industry projects and collaborations related to the application of artificial intelligence (AI) to supply the chains. There are no fees for the program, and CDL will not take equity in any ventures that take part in CDL Recovery.

A program focused on innovation

The Creative Destruction Lab helps promising ventures transition into high-growth companies by providing access to a powerful network of national and international mentors. CDL started at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, and arrived at Dal’s Rowe School of Business in 2017.
There are CDL locations at the Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia, the Haskayne School of Business at the University of Calgary, HEC Montreal, and the Stern School of Business at New York University. The program recently launched at the prestigious Oxford University in London, England and it’s expected that more international locations will follow.

Admitted start-ups enter a nine-month program that is focused on defining objectives with measurable deliverables. It involves a series of eight-week “sprints,” and the Ventures that demonstrate the greatest progress will continue to receive support and advice from Fellows and Associates. Those that stagnate, and are unable to resolve key issues and/or do not receive further offers of mentorship from Fellows and Associates, do not move forward in the program.

Learn more at the CDL Atlantic website.


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