Idea Surgeries

Got an idea but not sure where to start? Maybe your business is up and running and you need a little help to figure out what comes next? Book an Idea Surgery and get the guidance you need!
Book your Idea Surgery

What’s an Idea Surgery?

An Idea Surgery is your first step to unlocking all the amazing resources on offer at the E-Lab.

We help you understand what you need to do next, give you practical suggestions and assess what resources would benefit you the most. It might be some one-to-one coaching or applying to an Enterprise Lab programme. It could be a session with one of our Experts-in-Residence, or the opportunity to pitch for Imperial Venture Mentoring Service (IVMS) support – there’s only one way to find out!

Who are they for?

Idea Surgeries are available to all Imperial staff members, students and alumni

If you’ve spotted an opportunity or are onto a solution to a big problem and want to see if it could be a business, then an Idea Surgery is exactly what you need. Alternatively, you might’ve got your business off the ground and need help in planning your next move.

All we ask is that you do a little preparation and complete our Idea Canvas before your first session.


To book an Idea Surgery you must:

Be an Imperial staff member or student/alum who’s graduated within the last 3 years

Have an idea for a business OR have set-up a business

How do they work?

Idea Surgeries are the ultimate safe space where you can voice your thoughts out loud and get sound advice.

Surgery sessions are up to an hour long and involve three separate founders/teams to one E-Lab coach. We’ll ask you to tell us and your peers all about yourself, the problem that you’ve identified and your idea for solving it. You’ll then get feedback from us as well as your fellow entrepreneurs to help you figure out what you’re going to do next.

You’ll also get the opportunity to give feedback and help your peers with their dilemmas too. Perhaps you’ve been where they are and have a top tip that will help them out of a rut and save them time.

When do they happen?

We run Idea Surgeries several days a week throughout term time and you can book a slot online. Surgery slots tend to go quickly but we try to increase capacity when things get busy.

If there are no slot available, or you just have a quick query you want answered, you can always drop in to our Enterprise Lab Office Hours to speak to a member of the team. Find out when the next drop in Office Hours are here. 

Meet the Idea Surgery Team

Ben Mumby-Croft
Ben Mumby-Croft

Director of Imperial Enterprise Lab

Expert enterprise educator, marketer and of course, our Director. Ben’s been heavily involved in enterprise education throughout his career and knows more than a thing or two about helping you get where you want to go.

Camille Reltien
Camille Reltien

Innovation and Entrepreneurship Manager

Camille leads WE Innovate, our programme which champions women entrepreneurs. She also provides coaching to founders and researches founder mental wellbeing and resilience. She’ll help you get inspired and tooled up for success.

Olivia Brown
Olivia Brown

Incubation Services Manager

Olivia runs our vital Incubation Services, which include Experts-in-Residence and Imperial Venture Mentoring Services. So, she’s perfectly placed to help you get the support you need.

Euan Bell
Euan Bell

Innovation and Entrepreneurship Manager

Euan leads our flagship entrepreneurial programme Venture Catalyst Challenge, which means he’s armed with tons of info and ready to speak to any of the teams and individuals that come through our Idea Surgeries.


How is an Idea Surgery different to Business Coaching or Experts-in-Residence?

Business Coaching and Experts-in-Residence are more formal one-to-one sessions (one individual or team), whereas we’ll often run Idea Surgeries with up to 3 teams. They’re a brilliant way to meet other entrepreneurs, share ideas and learn from one another’s experiences. Idea Surgeries are also more informal, so if networking makes you a little nervous, this is the perfect place to practise.

What about confidentiality and IP?

We operate our Idea Surgeries in a similar way to the Chatham House Rule. That’s to say that by coming to a session, you agree to openly discuss your ideas together and use what you’ve learned, without compromising the other teams’ confidentiality or revealing any sensitive information.

I've filled the form out, but there's no availability for a while. Is there a waiting list?

Yes. Add yourself to the waiting list which is on the left hand side of the booking page and we’ll let you know as soon as one becomes available.

What happens afterwards?

We’ll email you with some useful links to resources and opportunities that will help you take your next step. Follow your coach’s guidance and come back for another idea surgery when you’re ready.

I came to an Idea Surgery last year. Do I need to do another one to get more coaching?

If you have another new idea then definitely. If you’re working on your original idea and feel like you need a little extra help, we’d be happy to see you again so we can catch up on how everything’s going. It also means we can point you in the best direction, whether that’s applying for a place on one of our programmes, some business coaching, experts-in-residence or all three!


“The Idea Surgery session I had with Ben was definitely a milestone in the startup journey. It was great to have an expert confirm your idea and that gave me the confidence to move things forward.”

Sirui Qui, MSc Strategic Marketing

Idea Surgery slots go quickly so don’t hang around, book now!

Book your first session now, and we’ll advise, inspire and point you in the right direction so you can turn your idea into reality!

Can’t see a slot? Add yourself to the waiting list which is on the left hand side of the booking page and we’ll let you know as soon as one becomes available.

Please note: Due to high demand for Idea Surgeries, we have implemented a two-strike policy. If you are unable to attend a session, please ensure that you cancel, reschedule, or notify us at least 48 hours in advance. This allows someone else the opportunity to book the session in your place.