Innovation Lab

The Innovation Lab is a virtual group dedicated to fostering innovation through mentoring. The Innovation Lab provides mentees with an understanding of how innovation works from generating ideas, how to grow and protect those ideas, patenting, marketing, networking, and building a business.

At our Innovation Lab, you'll find a dynamic community of top innovators and business mentors dedicated to pushing the boundaries of possibility. Here's what sets us apart:

Monthly Zoom Meetings: Connect face-to-face with fellow innovators in our monthly Zoom meetings. Share your progress, gain valuable insights, and be inspired by the journeys of others as we come together to propel our innovations forward.

Brainstorming Sessions & Challenges: Experience the power of collective ideation in our brainstorming sessions. Let your creativity soar as we explore new ideas and uncover innovative solutions together. Plus, take part in exciting challenges designed to stretch your creative muscles and spark breakthrough innovations.

1:1 Mentorship: Receive personalized guidance and support from seasoned mentors through our Lattitude platform. Whether you need advice on strategy, feedback on your innovation, or simply a sounding board, our mentors are here to empower you every step of the way.

Slack Communication: Stay connected with fellow Innovation Lab members through our Slack workspace. Engage in real-time discussions, seek advice, and share insights effortlessly.

Innovation Roadblocks Channel: Hit a roadblock in your innovation journey? Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered. Our dedicated channel helps you navigate challenges with the collective wisdom of our community.

Check-in Channel: Celebrate victories, seek support during setbacks, and share updates with the community in our check-in channel. Together, we’ll cheer each other on every step of the way.

Guest Speakers: Gain invaluable industry insights and inspiration from guest speakers who are leaders in their fields. Expand your horizons, learn from the best, and fuel your innovation journey with fresh perspectives.

Participation in our Innovation Lab is not just encouraged—it's essential for unlocking your full potential as an innovator. Join us today and embark on a journey of endless possibilities, where innovation knows no bounds.

A Cut Above: Lily Osmon

Invention: The Cardinal Knife

The Cardinal is a knife created for petite hands and aims to help people properly hold knives by designing a grip within the top of the blade to keep your technique correct, preventing wrist and forearm pain. As we revised and corrected details to our patent-pending design, we realized our knife was uniquely comfortable for more. SOL Cookware is creating the cardinal in different sizes so you can share the comfort interchangeably. Customize your experience with engraving, mix and match colors depending on your mood. Create your own experience and expand your curiosity in the kitchen.

Mentor Impact

I’m Lily Osman and I am the founder of Sole Cookware. I am a trained Chef by trade, Master’s student, and most importantly a full time inventor and entrepreneur. Sole Cookware is launching our first product on Memorial day of 2024, it is a lot of work right now but the team is excited and ready for the product to be out in the world! My company started with design work and in house prototyping in 2022 and became an official LLC in 2023.

The launch is focused on the most important tool in the kitchen, The Chef Knife. After countless (truly) prototypes we have an award winning design for our beautiful Knife, which we have named The Cardinal. In the last year we have been able to have one patent filed and a baby patent in the works as well as an on-going ‘Master List’ which currently has over 30 patents we plan to file after launch. Sole Cookware was awarded an IDA (International Design Award) in 2023. On a more personal accomplishment side, I was awarded the Mentee of the Year Award in 2023, nominated by my Mentor Bob Cousins.

In our first meeting I remember Bob saying, I don’t know why we were matched; we are opposites; in some ways I suppose that is true. What is untrue is our core values are exactly aligned. We have had nearly weekly meetings since being introduced.

Bob may not give himself enough credit for the impact he has. Effortlessly, he communicates how to not just improve my business with unique approaches but he advocates for my well being. It can be lonely to be innovative or to keep going with an idea, in those moments I look back at emails Bob send to me “you are important to me” or “I *DO* believe in you, you are becoming a force of nature…”

I know wherever my innovations take me I want Bob involved. I want his voice in my head and knowledge accessible. Bob has become more than a mentor as he shared a Book Project with me that we are collaborating on, his trust in my vision for the book speaks volumes and makes me excited for publishing.

A Mentor like Bob is priceless and is a relationship I cherish daily and know that he will likely be my go-to person for as long as I can possibly get him to sign up for that role.

The Cardinal

Company | SOL Cookware

Lead Designer | Gizem Karatas

Design Team | Lily Osman (CEO), Gizem Karatas (CDO)

Project Location | New York

Prize | Bronze in Home / Kitchen: Accessories/Tabletop

Innovation Impact: Sam Benoit

Invention: The Swim Fin
“The Innovation Lab allowed me to bring forth multiple projects and discuss the most appropriate for a patent application. I went through the patent process for a 3D-printed swimming device, the Swim Fin, and ideated additional aspects of the invention and more project ideas for the future. During several meetings, inventors from different parts of the world in distinct parts of the innovation journey came together to brainstorm new products that could make an impact.”

The Innovation Lab is a vibrant community tailored for the next generation of visionary thinkers and changemakers. If you’re a student with a burning desire to make a difference, explore uncharted territories, and shape a brighter future, then this is the place for you.

Whether you’re in high school, undergrad, or graduate school, our doors are wide open to individuals who crave innovation and are committed to leaving a lasting impact on the world.

Here’s why you should join us:

Passion for Change: Are you driven by a deep-seated passion to change the world for the better? Whether your interests lie in sustainability, healthcare, technology, or beyond, the Innovation Lab provides a supportive environment for you to turn your vision into reality.

Curiosity and Exploration: If you’re someone who thrives on curiosity and loves exploring new concepts, you’ll feel right at home in our community. Dive into brainstorming sessions, tackle challenges head-on, and unleash your creativity as you navigate uncharted waters alongside like-minded peers.

Positive Impact: At the heart of the Innovation Lab is a shared commitment to making a positive mark on the world. Whether it’s through groundbreaking innovations, social initiatives, or transformative ideas, our members are united by a common goal: to leave the world a better place than they found it.

Learning and Growth: As a student, your journey of learning and growth is just beginning. By joining the Innovation Lab, you’ll have access to invaluable resources, mentorship, and opportunities for personal and professional development that will propel you towards success in your academic and entrepreneurial pursuits.

So, if you’re ready to embark on a journey of innovation, collaboration, and positive change, we invite you to join us at the Innovation Lab. Together, let’s redefine the future and make our mark on the world.

Innovation Lab Leadership Team

Bill Cheswick | Co-Leader

Bill Cheswick logged into his first computer in 1968 and has been immersed in programming and computer security ever since. After graduating from Lehigh University in 1975, he joined Bell Labs in 1987, where he pioneered firewall designs and co-authored the influential book “Firewalls and Internet Security.”

In the late 1990s, Cheswick collaborated with Hal Burch on corporate and Internet mapping, producing popular Internet maps still referenced today. He used this technology to explore wartime damage in Serbia in 1999 and other connectivity issues.

Cheswick co-founded Lumeta in 2000 to commercialize his mapping technology and later worked at AT&T Shannon Lab, earning numerous patents in visualization and authentication. Since “retiring” in 2012, he has been a Visiting Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania, consulting, teaching, and staying active in the tech community.

He lives on a farm in Flemington, NJ, supporting his wife’s botanical research, flying drones, and experimenting with iOS apps and digital signal processing.

Gabriela Ewachiw | Project Manager

Gabriela Ewachiw is a dynamic and accomplished leader with a passion for project management and a commitment to raising awareness about the profound benefits of implementing project management principles. Gabriela possesses over 15 years of invaluable project management expertise spanning diverse industry sectors, including education, healthcare, semiconductors, and transportation.

In addition to her illustrious professional journey, Gabriela is an active contributor to the community. Her involvement includes serving on the boards of various professional organizations, such as the Project Management Institute, International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA), and Toastmasters International, where she has made a meaningful impact.

Gabriela Ewachiw embodies the essence of a strategic and results-driven leader who continues to inspire and drive excellence in project management while making a significant difference in her community and beyond.

Samantha Stone | Project Coordinator

Samantha Stone is a versatile professional with a BFA in Theatre Design and Technology. With a background in stage management and TV/film production, she brings creativity and precision to her work.

Currently, Samantha serves as the Program Coordinator for The Mentor Project, facilitating connections between mentors and mentees, and as the Project Coordinator for The Mentor Project’s Innovation Lab, driving forward-thinking initiatives.

She is also the Lead Podcast Producer for ITSPmagazine, exploring the intersection of technology, cybersecurity, and society.
Additionally, Samantha runs an allergen-friendly recipe blog, providing innovative and delicious recipes for those with dietary restrictions.
Samantha Stone brings creativity, organization, and passion to every project she undertakes.

Our Innovation Lab is dedicated to making a meaningful impact in the lives of young entrepreneurs and the broader community. We are committed to evolving our strategies, embracing practical learning, and fostering a culture of dynamic, actionable innovation.


Interested in learning more about The Mentor Project Innovation Lab? Ready to get involved? Leave your contact information and a brief message, and we'll get back to you!

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