This is a question we’ve contemplated quite a bit recently in preparing for last week’s Stop Reacting, Start Proacting webinar. (BTW, if you missed the live event, you can buy the video.) We’ve blogged some about our two-phase process for making good technology commercialization decisions via rapid screenings and market-based assessments of intellectual property (IP). But given the plethora of terminology that tech transfer offices (TTOs) and others in the industry use to name their evaluation and/or prioritization processes, I feel it’s important to be crystal clear. Because sometimes the same term can be used to describe two very different things, creating the classic apples-to-oranges comparisons.
At Fuentek, we were very deliberate in naming the screening and assessment parts of our IP management process. According to Webster’s, to screen means to sift [through a coarse mesh] so as to separate finer from coarser particles. On the other hand, to assess means to estimate or determine the significance, importance, or value of something. We’ve talked a lot about the screening phase of technology evaluation, but our approach to market-based technology assessment could use some clarifying.
As illustrated in the slide below, Fuentek assessments have a very specific, in-depth process to (1) evaluate a technology’s commercial potential and (2) identify key next steps for commercialization. Our process involves proactively gathering first-hand market information to understand:
- Market needs and trends
- Who is most likely to be interested in the technology
- How to effectively position a technology during marketing
- Items that need to be addressed prior to marketing and
- How much of your TTO’s limited resources this technology warrants
We analyze the data gathered against about a dozen factors related to the technology’s commercialization readiness, IP position, and potential market(s). (In our years of experience performing hundreds of assessments, we’ve learned that less is more when it comes to the analysis factors.) This type of analysis goes beyond verifying market interest. The assessment helps you develop a roadmap for going forward—that all-important top step in the graphic below.
There’s a lot of homework involved, but it’s not research for its own sake. In fact, many times we have stopped the assessment research when the recommendation is clearly obvious and to go on would be beating a dead horse. And the assessment outcomes are (1) a clear recommendation as to whether further commercialization efforts are warranted and, if they are, (2) all the information needed to put together an efficient, cost-effective, and successful marketing plan that, in turn, will help you secure deals.
Any questions? (I feel like that “this is your brain on drugs” ad!) If so, please leave a comment below or feel free to send me a private message through our Contact Us page.