July 20, 2017


Elaine gave a talk about finding passion and satisfaction in one’s professional work, drawing inspiration from her 25 year long invention journey during the Celebrate Invention Event at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Washington, DC. Elaine was one of eight Invention Ambassadors chosen by the AAAS-Lemelson Invention Ambassador Program for 2017-2018.

July 17, 2017

How to build a robotics startup

Elaine moderated a panel on how to build a robotics startup with panelists Andy Wheeler of Google Ventures and Helen Greiner of CyPhy Works at TechCrunch’s first-ever robotics event.

April 8, 2017

Primary Market Research Skills Clinic

Am I building the right product for my target customers? How do I build a deep understanding of my customers’ needs and wants? In this intensive clinic, Elaine Chen, a startup veteran and an MIT Senior Lecturer, will put you through a mini-bootcamp to learn practical skills to design a customer research program, and apply a variety of proven qualitative and quantitative research techniques to build knowledge of your users and economic buyers. These skills will help you stay close to your customers, and help you iterate quickly to build and scale your business from product development to customer acquisition, sales, operations and more.

March 23, 2017

The Secret Sauce of Super Successful Entrepreneurs

In this keynote address at the Tourism Innovation Competition and Conference in Lisbon, Portugal, Elaine explores how embracing failure helps super successful entrepreneurs overcome obstacles and succeed. Elaine was also a panelist in a follow on discussion about the role of technology in enhancing and encouraging tourism in countries with a rich history and cultural heritage such as Portugal.


February 20, 2017

Innovation: Propelling the Next Generation Forward

Elaine was a panelist at the Harvard Project for Asian and International Relations (HPAIR) conference.  Asia stands at the forefront of technology and innovation, which has revolutionized how business is conducted around the world. With ecommerce predicted to reach $1.9 trillion this year, businesses must embrace technological change to remain relevant and competitive. In the panel discussion, we discussed how companies are using technology to transform or create impactful products or services to inspire change, creativity, and collaboration.


November 14, 2016

From Making to Mass Production: Stories from the Field

In this talk for academic makerspace leaders, Elaine will explore how making is the beginning, middle and end of product development. She will be talking about the evolution of four products she helped build: The Phantom Haptic Device, the Zeemote, the Zeo Mobile, and the Baxter robot.


November 13, 2016

Hardware Panel

Elaine moderated a panel about hardware startups at the MIT CHIEF conference, where entrepreneurs, investors and influencers explored the unique challenges and rewards of building a brand new hardware business from the ground up.


June 24, 2016

Thinking like an entrepreneur

In this keynote address, Elaine tells the story of three extraordinary people – one entrepreneur, one corporate entrepreneur, and one creative individual working in a team – to explore ways in which entrepreneurial thinking transforms how we experience work, and helps us achieve things we never thought possible.


April 15, 2016

Know your market and customers

In this talk Elaine introduced the Disciplined Entrepreneurship framework and discussed key concepts about understanding your customer – from market segmentation and selection to persona development via primary market research.


April 7, 2016

Getting Stuff Made: Elaine Chen

In this talk, Elaine uses 2 case studies to talk about taking a hardware product from concept to mass manufacturing.


January, 2016.

Panel Moderation: The In’s and Out’s of Seed Rounds, January 2016

How does a startup prepare for a seed round? What are specific do’s and don’ts for fund-raising? What are the best methods for proving traction and validating business models? Elaine moderated an expert panel discussion covering these topics and more as part of the MIT StartIAP Accelerator program. Panelists include: TJ Mahony, Managing Director, BOSS Syndicate, Accomplice VC; Eric Paley, Managing Partner, Founder Collective; Nicole Stata, Founder and Managing Director, Boston Seed Capital; and Reed Sturtevant, Managing Director, Project 11.


December 1, 2015

2015 MIT Startup Ecosystem Conference

Elaine will be moderating the Product Stage breakout session at the MIT Industrial Liaison’s startup ecosystem conference at the MIT Media Lab.


June 2, 2015, 6:30pm

Successful Product Development: Meeting the Market without Breaking the Bank – ENET Boston

Whether you want to sell a new kind of vehicle or a new app, you’ve got to develop your idea into a real product that customers are willing to pay for. Do you try to develop the product in house or do you outsource the development? How do you fund your product development? How do you make sure you’re developing the right product for your market? Elaine will be joining other seasoned product development executives to offer guidance in primary market research, matching your product to your market, practical suggestions for making the most of your development budget, and effective advice for avoiding product development pitfalls.


May 13, 2015, 1:15pm PDT

Are you solving a problem worth solving? – MakerCon Bay Area

Great technical teams can build a product to solve almost any problem. But is the problem worth solving in the first place? There is nothing more depressing than building a beautiful product, only to find that the problem that inspired this solution isn’t as impactful as we believed. In this talk, we will look at how we can use strategic thinking and customer development to iterate our way to a great problem statement, so we make sure that we are solving a problem worth solving.


November 15, 2014

Startup Development – MIT-CHIEF 2014

Thanks to millions of creative inventors and brave entrepreneurs, the world is developing rapidly and our life are changing dramatically and becoming more fantastic. In recent years, the environment becomes more and more supportive and friendly to start-ups and attracts a lot of people to bring their ideas into realities by building their own companies. However, there are still many factors to consider when deciding whether or not to start a new company, e.g., market demanding, competition, funding, and management and so on. Moreover, a lot of other problems would possibly come up during the initial development stage of a new company, such as marketing of products, equity division between co-founders, constitution of board of directors. It is almost impossible for start-up founders to be familiar with everything so there is always something for them to learn. In order to help entrepreneurs to learn from the successful start-ups and address their specific concerns when building the companies, this year’s MIT-CHIEF hosts a panel on “Start-up Development”, moderated by Elaine Chen, featuring in-depth discussion for people to learn more about founding start-ups. The topics include: Preparation for starting a new company; Process of starting a new company; Key factors for success; Special tips for founding a start-up in China.


November 14, 2014

Primary Market Research – MassTLC UNCON2014

At the MassTLC Innovation Unconference 2014, Elaine led a panel on primary market research. Building from the basics, that entrepreneurs must leave the office to interact with costumers, we discussed qualitative versus quantitative market research. Elaine took the position that quantitative measures are best for pricing research – in fact, the only viable way to research prices is to try selling the product at various prices and see whether or not customers buy. Survey takers tend to respond that they would buy a product, though when faced with the purchasing decision, they would not follow through. Katarine Cai countered that qualitative research may be more useful B2B companies making more customized sales for which one would want to understand a given customer’s motives for buying the product.



November 20, 2013, 10:40am

Emerging Technologies and the future – MIT-CHIEF 2013

Technologies such as the Internet, solar power and nano-materials have once been considered as futuristic but eventually become accessible, prevalent, and integral to everyday life. We believe that the next generation of technological breakthroughs will change our lives even fundamentally. In this year’s MIT-CHIEF, we proudly present a new panel session: Emerging Technologies & The Future, bringing together visionaries in different fields to discuss the social and commercial impact of emerging technologies. We expect this panel session will stimulate interdisciplinary dialog, cross-sector collaboration, raise the awareness of state-of-the-art scientific and technical progress, and inspire the audiences to trace the future path to a better society. We will also examine the opportunities and challenges facing entrepreneurs and investors on those frontiers.