What is technology commercialisation?
Scientific research and innovation is pivotal for economic growth of any country. But innovative ideas or new discoveries in the lab alone cannot contribute to the development. To be of value to the society and to have a positive impact on economy, the new innovations need to be converted to products and taken to the market. The entire process of transforming the new ideas or innovations in to products and transferring them in to the market is generally referred as commercialization. The developed nations have always given a lot of attention to the innovation commercialization process. This is still a challenge for the developing nations. To be able to properly understand the process of commercialization, to dedicate financial aids for such reasons, to have proper guidelines to regulate commercialization process as well as to provide industry –university- investor collaboration opportunities to establish a healthy innovation ecosystem are few important reasons why many countries are struggling in successfully bringing new technologies in to the market. Moreover, proper understanding of the steps involved in the technology commercialization process, from the universities, research centres and industries perspective could affect the success rate of technology transfer.
Therefore, I have decided to share my knowledge of the innovation commercialization process which I acquire by working with industries and UK HEI sectors through a series of blogs. If you are interested in the topic and do not want to miss any information on technology commercialization please SUBSCRIBE to the Entrepreneurs and Enterprise section of my blog on the right hand side of the page.
The basic steps involved in technology transfer process:
Identifying an opportunity is the very first step of technology commercialization. This ideally means identifying the scientific and commercial value of the new discoveries. The scientific value of a new innovation is pretty straight forward as it is often the basis of the research. Having a scientific values does not necessarily guarantee commercial success. Identifying the commercial value includes, understanding USP of your discovery, aligning it with customer need, establishing a market for it and getting the customer to pay for your technology. This requires networking, market research and documentation. Documentation in the form of invention disclosure is very critical during this stage and maximum effort should be taken to avoid any public disclosure about the new invention.
Invention Disclosure: Invention disclosure is a confidential document and it provides critical information about the new invention. This document answers technical questions such as the novelty of the invention, its advantages over existing technology or products, limitations as well as the potential market value. This document should also contain clear information about the ownership of the invention and other intellectual property rights issues. At no circumstances this document should be disclosed to any other party without a proper non-disclosure agreement as this document is very significant in protecting the new innovation.
Assessment:After the invention is documented, a proper assessment should be carried out with the help of a consultant or an in house expert. Assessment is carried out by intense research which is performed along with the inventor. During this stage intense assessment of technical feasibility, market potential and patentability is conducted along with technical inputs from the inventor. If the evaluation process has a positive outcome then a patent is applied to protect the innovation.
Patent is an exclusive right to stop others from making and selling your innovation until the protected period is over. Once the invention disclosure form is filled and assessment is done, an application is filed for granting patent. In some cases the duration to get the patent could be more than the window of opportunities to commercialize the innovation. In such cases carefully decision should be made whether or not to apply for the patent. Until the patent is granted, disclosure must be maintained by all means.
Business Case and Plan:
If the commercialization of the technology is truly feasible, a business case and commercialization plan is developed. This phase actually commence in the assessment stage where comprehensive analysis of industry and market is carried out along with customer identification and analysis. Customers’ needs and expectations are carefully integrated in the business case in this stage there by creating a value proposition. Furthermore, a more elaborate commercialization plan is developed in this stage. This includes products features, distribution channels, business operations, policies, legal structure of the business, marketing and growth plans, financials, and the team needed to make your venture a success.
Executing the Business Plan:
Executing the business plan is the last step of the commercialization process. This stage includes selecting a location for the business, hiring team members, and business work flow management, supply chain management, manufacturing and marketing the products. At the same time this stage also require to manage day to day administrative work. The business plan is monitored and refined time to time to be able to successfully deliver the goal. The commercialization process end with creation of market for the product and generating revenue which in order influence the economic growth of the country.
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