Updated Oct. 12, 2010
In my last posts, I discussed the value of social media tools such as blogs, with some extra discussion of microblogging, as an effective means of communication for Technology Transfer Offices (TTOs). Now I offer the following guidelines to position your organization to capitalize on the use of these two and other social media tools.
- Plan. Establish a plan that links the use of blogs, microblogging, and other social media tools to specific goals, objectives, and challenges within your organization. Establish metrics (hard and soft) to monitor the effectiveness of your use of these tools and their impact on your goals. For more about metrics, check out our paper “How’d We Do?: Establishing Useful Technology Transfer Metrics”.
- Connect. Proactively expand and enhance your professional network on an ongoing basis. Tools like LinkedIn, Plaxo and even Facebook can assist you in identifying the right person at the right place at the right time that may be your next licensee or business partner. These tools are a natural extension of the relationships that you are continuously cultivating via professional associations and your internal interactions.
- Integrate. Become an active (rather than a casual) participant and establish accountability for doing so. “Institutionalize” your use of these tools, so that daily disruptions do not cause you to constantly put off these tools until “tomorrow.” Establish a schedule each day when you or a member of your staff is tending to the care and feeding of your social media platforms.
- Listen. Social media is extremely dynamic, with new trends, technologies, and applications emerging monthly. Observe the emergence of these new trends, capitalizing on new sources of information and professional relationships. And remember to listen to what others are blogging about that provide insights on new trends in technology commercialization and licensing of intellectual property.
- Engage. Identify opportunities for you and your organization to deliver value to your subscribers. You should continually seek opportunities to maximize the value they return to your organization.
As you plan to leverage social media tools, think beyond the written word and your traditional communication methods. When feasible, take a multi-media approach, incorporating pictures, audio and video to represent your technology portfolio beyond a static Web site.
Social media tools are clearly not a fad and will continue to evolve and improve as a key communications vehicle for organizations across the globe. If you have not already embraced these tools, I encourage you to dig in and begin your planning process.
Are there any best practices that you can share from using social media tools to support your Technology Transfer Office?
–By Jack Spain