TECH TRANSFER CONSULTANCY
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Highlights from AUTM 2015

After the exhibit hall, reception, and dinner Monday night, we wandered down Bourbon Street. (Probably a lot less crowded than last week at Mardi Gras!)

After the exhibit hall, reception, and dinner Monday night, we wandered down Bourbon Street. (Probably a lot less crowded than last week at Mardi Gras!)

We have returned from New Orleans and are settling back into our daily routine in our respective offices and enjoying/battling the snow. Thinking back over the AUTM® National Meeting this past week, a few highlights are sticking with me and the rest of the Fuentek leadership team that attended the conference. Today’s post shares those highlights with you. Enjoy!

 

Steve Blank’s Fireside Chat

On Sunday evening, AUTM president-elect Fred Reinhart held a fireside chat with serial entrepreneur and Lean Startup educator Steve Blank. Several things came up that rang true for us, as perfectly encapsulated in some of the attendee tweets:

 

 

We couldn’t agree more! Whether it’s a startup or some other route to commercialization, obtaining market feedback is a key aspect of proactive IP management. For example, in our market-based assessments, Fuentek analyzes research from both secondary (Internet, market reports) and primary (interviews with potential licensees and experts) sources to develop an effective and specific marketing strategy.

Here’s another good point…

Assuming they’re not disclosing any IP that hasn’t been sufficiently protected, yes — and this is essentially what we do in our primary market research. Indeed, it is important to have innovators interact with the potential market for their technology. When we train inventors, we encourage them to ask themselves first (and then the market) several key questions to evaluate how their innovation might fit into a particular market, because eventually what is needed is a clear statement of the product’s tangible value to the end-user. (We’ll be blogging more about this in the future.)

In short, market feedback is essential for successful commercialization, even if a startup isn’t the end result. Speaking of which, I was particularly taken with this tweet:

Frequent readers of our blog won’t be surprised that this tweet resonated with me. 🙂

 

Recurring Themes

Fuentek's Becky Stoughton with Patrick Reed of the LSU Health Sciences Center

Fuentek’s Becky Stoughton with Patrick Reed of the LSU Health Sciences Center

Other highlights for us were the two sessions we were involved in. I moderated a session on encouraging faculty to participate in sponsored research agreements (SRAs), while Becky was a panelist for a session on small technology transfer offices (TTOs). Interestingly, several recurring themes came up in both sessions (apart from the loss of panelists due to the illness that was working its way through the attendees):

  • Communicate effectively with researchers: Be as clear and as open as possible in your interactions. An effective Web site can be a key tool for this.
  • Be transparent: Communicate your process to researchers, including why you’re doing it. In the case of SRAs, be direct about what clauses can’t be modified in an engagement and why.
  • Be a “yes, we can” office: Rather than get tangled up in what can’t be done, focus on where you can be accommodating and find the middle ground.

I suspect these themes were coming up in other sessions, particularly the last point given the tweet that came out of a session on campus entrepreneurship:

 

Longtime Friends, New Faces

Becky Stoughton (left) and Laura Schoppe (right) chatted about tech transfer with Florence Ghrenassia of Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris

Becky Stoughton (left) and Laura Schoppe (right) chatted about tech transfer with Florence Ghrenassia of Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris

The Fuentek booth was a great place to catch up with tech transfer professionals we’ve known for a while as well as to make new connections. BTW, if you’re wondering about the infographic on the far-right, we’ll be blogging about that next week.

What were your highlights from the AUTM meeting? Submit a comment below or send me a private message.