You don't need experience to make an impact
What could you accomplish if you had a problem that you cared about, and that affected millions of people? What if you had the freedom and resources to actually solve it?
Distinguish yourself as a leader in innovation
If you want a great career, you need to stand out from the crowd.
The Zero Experience differentiates you. You’ll build a network of experts to support you, solve problems affecting millions of people, and learn how to make your visions a reality.
There is no other guided experience in UW that offers these benefits – if you’re a student and want to become more employable, join the Zero Experience.
"Honestly, this is the best experience for me so far since I came to Waterloo… Don’t regret any moment of work here."
Part-time innovation, no experience required
We all get asked the same question; “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Whether it’s choosing a university, a career, or in any conversation with relatives, that question pops up.
The answer we think in response is usually simple; “We don’t know.”
The Zero Experience will let you find out. You’ll try analyzing problems, interviewing industry mentors, designing new solution ideas, leading tightly knit teams of peers, and applying all these skills to your personal goals and growth.
There is no faster way to grow as a person than to attempt making something worth creating. We are here to give you that opportunity in the Zero Experience.
“I think anyone who feels kind of…lost…or out of place in their university program would benefit A lot from the Zero Experience. For me personally, it gave me the inspiration to continue in my program because Zero showed me that innovation is literally everywhere. And that I don't just have to continue on in academia and become a professor… but that I could make something really cool that helps a lot of people.”
So what will you be doing?
The Zero Experience is a weekly 2 hour workshop from 6-8pm Eastern Time, which has three “cycles”.
- The Problem Cycle - From Week 1 you’ll get a problem you’re interested in and we’ll teach you how to become an expert in it. In Week 2, you’ll join a team who cares about it just as much as you do to understand why this problem hasn’t been solved. Finally, we’ll dive into who else struggles with this problem, and how to expand your network to help solve it!
- Week 1 - Starting From Zero
- Week 2 - Forming Teams and Problem Analysis
- Week 3 - Users and Networking
- The Solution Cycle - In week 4, we start from Zero again! You'll get to re-select your problem and what you want from teammates so you can experiment before you commit! After sprinting through the Problem Cycle in a single day (innovation happens fast!), we'll spend the next two weeks answering: "Once you have a problem worth solving, how do you actually solve it?"
- Week 4 - Finding Your Problem (from Zero)
- Week 5 - Generating Solutions
- Week 6 - Choosing Your First Step
- The Innovation Cycle - Our last cycle puts it all together. We teach you how to innovate fast, because that's how it works in real life. By the end you'll have a problem you care about, a team who cares just as much as you do, a solution worth pursuing, and the confidence to make an impact now.
- Week 7 - Finding Your First Solution (From Zero)
- Week 8 - Testing Your Idea
- Week 9 - Going Beyond Zero
Also, we will be hosting a weekly fireside chat with fascinating innovators after every workshop! You’ll hear stories of triumph and failure, of astonishing ambition, and some surprisingly personal admissions; everything is off the record so you’ll get to hear the real stories.
Plan to show up to every workshop, since the practice from one week feeds right into the next. If it’s not immediately valuable to you, we don’t teach it. If you’re in an extremely different time-zone or have a frequent conflict, we encourage you to apply in a future term. We know school can be busy and stressful, and we have accounted for that in this program. Some students emerge with exciting new projects, others emerge with profound changes to their worldviews.
Everyone emerges with something special and something new.
"It would be hard to find a program like Zero Experience that allows you to accomplish both personal and professional goals at the same time. This program just has something. It is so well organized and inclusive that you will find out even though there are different people with different goals in this world, it is possible to work it out and do something amazing (actually, that is the key)."
Co-founder of the Zero Experience
Co-founder of Scope Photonics
UWaterloo Nanotechnology Engineering Alumni (2020)
Within the Zero Experience I love teaching about storytelling and how to wrap your ideas into a compelling narrative; a strong story lets you sell yourself in interviews, pitch ideas at competitions, and get promoted for your solutions. My focus is on fostering a close-knit community within the program, along with coaching students in networking, leading teams, realizing personal goals, and making great things happen.
Outside of running the Zero Experience I’m the CEO of Scope Photonics, and an avid reader/writer, cook, improv actor, and an extremely poor guitarist.
Co-founder of the Zero Experience
UWaterloo Computer Science Student Alumni (2021)
I love collecting small insights that people spend years developing; it’s fascinating how much they translate from one person to another. The Zero Experience is an attempt to share those insights in a way that actually makes them applicable. Most of my life I’ve been teaching in one way or another - from teaching my classmates when they struggled, to teaching computers how to interview. My hope is that sharing these ideas will let people do what they want, not just what they have to do.