Researchers are gathering in Auckland today for a workshop designed to help identify the commercial potential of their research and innovations. The Creating Value from Innovation workshop, run by The Kiwi Innovation Network (KiwiNet), aims to improve researchers’ commercial awareness and skills so ultimately more research and technology innovations reach the marketplace.
“Commercialisation is all about the communication of business opportunities, not just the marketing of technologies. By helping researchers to think like a business, even if for just one day, we can radically increase the chances of the technology being used, ” says workshop facilitator Nigel Slaughter, General Manager Commercial at WaikatoLink, a subsidiary of the University of Waikato.
Mr Slaughter says researchers find it easier to identify opportunities for commercialisation when they have a practical understanding of the whole commercialisation process.
During the workshop researchers, post-doctoral students and PhD students from organisations including Plant & Food Research, AUT University, WelTec Connect Ltd and the University of Auckland are creating plans for how, when and where to work with the market as well as developing alternate applications for their ideas and risk management strategies.
Dr Dave Parry, Senior Lecturer at the School of Computing and Mathematical Sciences at AUT University, a participant on the course comments, “The workshop is giving me a very valuable framework for understanding the process of commercialisation and how this relates to my research on RFID devices in healthcare. A key insight is that thinking about commercialisation needs to be an inherent part of the research project in order to understand where the opportunities and issues will arise; it’s not just something someone else will do at some point.”
During the workshop researcher’s work on their own project, applying best practice commercialisation processes and gradually developing its commercial focus throughout the day. The workshop covers how to how to evaluate the commercial potential of a project and how to make an opportunity commercial; how to align ideas with the market and how to market and communicate ideas; how the commercialisation process works and the role of the technology transfer office; and due diligence including the management of risk and IP strategies.
The importance of collaboration and building relationships with research and industry partners, professionals and customers of new technologies is also reinforced.
“A key takeaway for participants is how vitally important it is to communicate a research idea in language that companies understand. It’s not just the research idea and how it can be applied that is important, but how the application of the idea creates a business opportunity. Researchers can really increase the value of their ideas in the eyes of the market by understanding more clearly what they are selling and communicating this effectively,” says Mr Slaughter.
KiwiNet’s role is to empower those involved in research commercialisation by helping them access the tools, connections, investment and support they need. Founding members include Plant & Food Research, Otago Innovation Ltd, Lincoln University, AUT Enterprises, AgResearch, University of Canterbury, Industrial Research Ltd, Viclink and WaikatoLink. Support is also provided by the Ministry of Science and Innovation.
KiwiNet’s next Creating Value from Innovation workshop will be in Otago on 21 March. For more information see www.kiwinet.org.nz