More on Symbiotic Innovation: How Doing Spin-In Helps with Spin-Out

Yesterday I talked about how the activities associated with spinning out patented technologies (or your other intellectual assets) can feed into your efforts to spin-in an external technology. Today let’s consider the reverse.

So just to recap, spin-in is when you look to outside sources of technology to solve your R&D challenges. There’s figuring out which R&D areas are ripe for technology spin-in or a partnershipfor collaborative development, conducting market research to identify potential partners and sources of technology, reaching out to those organizations, and negotiating a deal. (For more how-to info, see my papers “Sources for Space Technologies” and “Investigate before Investing” as well as other papers and insights Fuentek offers.)

How do these activities contribute to spin-out?

  • Identify new licensing/commercialization opportunities: In looking for technologies that the market has to offer, you may end up identifying an industry need that could be solved by something in your IP portfolio. Such previously unidentified spin-out opportunities are not uncommon (market needs evolve over time, resource limitations preclude the active commercialization of everything in the portfolio, etc.). Linking your spin-in and spin-out activities provides a cost-effective way to identify those opportunities.
  • Understand potential licensees’ perspective: As noted before, your spin-out is someone else’s spin-in. As an experienced spinner-inner(!), you have the inside scoop on what it’s like to bring in outside technology. Use that experience and lessons learned to inform your spin-out activities, especially the negotiations. The best negotiators are those who understand the person on the other side of the table.
  • Raise the priority of spin-out efforts among innovators: This is the flip side of the point I made yesterday about innovators who are averse to spin-in. Some innovators actually are more interested in getting help for their current technical challenge than in helping a licensee commercialize an innovation they developed months or even years ago. For those innovators who feel that, “I’m done with that technology and have moved on, so why should I spend time trying to help someone else use it,” spin-in can grease the skids. Again, when they see the value of one, they’re more likely to support the other.

Is all of this making sense? Sometimes this might seem like circular arguments. That’s not surprising.

My goal here is to show that Symbiotic Innovation is the best way to go when it comes to managing your intellectual property and seeking collaborative R&D. Not only is it more cost-efficient and increases the likelihood of success, but it just makes sense! In the coming weeks and months, we’ll be posting more “war stories” about our efforts to implement Symbiotic Innovation.

Do you have your own war stories to share? We’re listening!

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Posted by Laura Schoppe

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