Silicon Valley Innovation Academy

Your Summer in Silicon Valley

How will you change the world? Silicon Valley Innovation Academy (SVIA) provides you with the mindset, skill set, and network you need to invent the future.

Stanford University lies at the heart of Silicon Valley–physically and intellectually. Since its founding, the University has focused on training the next generation of innovative leaders. With a student body drawn from around the world, today’s Stanford is “a place for learning, discovery, innovation, [and] expression.” Whether you already know how you’re going to change the world, or you’re still searching for your passion, Stanford’s Silicon Valley Innovation Academy will help you to develop the right mindset and skills needed.

The Program

SVIA is an exclusive opportunity for a limited number of Summer Session students to experience a team-based moonshot project while at Stanford. Across seven weeks, you’ll hone your leadership abilities in a team, in which you’ll explore, prototype, and communicate a world-changing, innovation opportunity. The program supports your journey through weekly, hands-on coaching sessions and real-world deliverables. The program culminates with the SVIA Innovation showcase, where each team presents their idea openly to the broader Silicon Valley and Stanford communities.

What to Expect

Each week, you will engage in activities that will help move your team project forward. You can expect the following:

  • One lesson that will leave you with tasks to complete with your group
  • A Large-Group Meeting (LGM) where all the teams will discuss and share their weekly insights and progress
  • A Small-Group Meeting (SGMs) focused on your team, in which an SVIA coach and other teams will listen to your team’s latest update offer feedback, and work to grow your team and idea to the next milestone 
  • Time outside of class to discover, analyze, and make the critical decisions to move your vision forward
  • Larger SVIA activities

Program Descriptions and Schedule at a Glance

Week 1: Inventing the Future

In the opening large group meeting (LGM), you’ll learn about the nature of “world-changing ideas” and the path you’ll take across the coming weeks. Your long-range opportunities this year will focus on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Beyond the LGM, the first small group meetings (SGMs) will be scheduled with the coaching teams. The first deliverables need to “capture the big picture.”

Week 2: Stalking the White Horse

In the second LGM, there will be a discussion around benchmarking the future. To borrow from William Gibson, “The Future is already here, it's just not very evenly distributed.” SGMs will help teams advance their project and create benchmarks for the near- to far-future. Deliverable includes comprehensive benchmarking and the infamous White Horse prototype.

Week 3: Capturing our Future User

This week’s LGM explores a user-centric mindset. A centerpiece of Stanford’s Design Thinking, how do we go from capturing today’s users to understand where they are going? SGM focuses on learning about potential opportunities. Deliverables include demographic changes, changes in perception, unexpected occurrences, incongruities, and market changes, embodied in a Future User prototype.

Week 4: Go!

You have to learn to walk before you run. Now you start running. During this week’s LGM, you’ll hear from a set of leading, young innovators and investors as they describe the state of “big innovation.” SGMs as expected. Deliverable is the first Critical Experience Prototype.

Week 5: And Again!

This week’s LGM focuses on how you can ask, and answer, better questions through a multiplicity of prototypes. The LGM will draw on voices from around the world as we learn about “making ideas real” in other cultures and countries. SGMs as expected. Deliverable is the second Critical Prototype.

Week 6: Tame the Dark Horse

Discussing how to “take it back” will occur — communicating your vision, plan, and learning. SGMs as expected. Deliverable is the Dark Horse Prototype.

Week 7: Making it Real

Your team’s efforts culminate with the innovation showcase. Your team will present your future vision, the path you’ve started on, and how you’ll continue to deliver post-Stanford.

Additional Events

Breathe It In

SVIA will visit multiple iconic places in Silicon Valley in casual “hot topic” meetups to mingle and see where inventing the future often occurs. Transportation will be provided.

Get Out There

A special scavenger hunt at a major Silicon Valley museum will give the opportunity to get off campus and discover the crazy ideas, the secrets, and the showcases that have defined the region’s history in technology.

Deep Dives

You can follow your curiosity and attend any number of special sessions that delve into specific innovation topics, such as Product Development, Invention, and IP Strategy, taught by our SVIA coaches and other experts.

Industry Panel

Get an insider’s perspective from several leading experts and Silicon Valley icons during a 90-minute panel, in which they will share stories about how Silicon Valley really works.

Round Zero Lunch

Talk with your peers in small roundtable discussions over lunch. Lunches will be organized on a rolling schedule, so you can find times that fit your class schedule. Each table will also feature a different VIP guest from Silicon Valley, including several leading young innovators who are developing new ventures. They’ll describe their recent college experiences, what led them to take the leap, and how they plan to build a better world for all of us.

How to Apply

If you are interested in applying to SVIA, your only opportunity to do so is within the Summer Session application. SVIA is an enrichment program to supplement the courses you take as a part of Summer Session. Thus, you cannot be in SVIA unless you are also admitted to Summer Session as a high school, undergraduate or graduate student and are taking courses.

Time Commitment

You can expect to dedicate about 50 hours throughout seven weeks on SVIA. We recommend that undergraduate/graduate students in SVIA enroll in no more than 10 units of courses and High School students in SVIA enroll in no more than 8-9 units


There is a $1,375 program fee for participating in SVIA. Please see the refund schedule below for more information.

Payment and Refund Policy

The $1,375 SVIA fee will be charged to your University tuition bill.

If you drop SVIA but remain in Summer Session

  • If you drop SVIA by June 4 at 8:59 pm Pacific Time, you will not be charged the SVIA fee (or you will be refunded the SVIA fee if you already paid the $1,375 fee on your tuition bill).
  • If you drop SVIA between June 4 at 9 pm Pacific Time and June 24 at 8:59 pm Pacific Time, then you will be charged $687.50 on your tuition bill (or you will be given a $687.50 if you already paid the $1,375 SVIA fee on your tuition bill).
  • If you drop SVIA on June 24 at 9 pm Pacific Time or later, you will be charged the full $1,375 program fee (or you will not receive a SVIA fee refund if you already paid the $1,375 SVIA fee on your tuition bill)

If you withdraw from Summer Session

  • If you withdraw from Stanford Summer Session (and thus also SVIA) by June 24 at 8:59 pm Pacific Time, you will not be charged the $1,375 SVIA fee (or will be refunded the SVIA fee if you already paid the fee on your tuition bill).

  • If you withdraw from Stanford Summer Session (and thus also SVIA) on June 24 at 9 pm or later, your SVIA fee charge will be decided on a case-by-case basis.

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