Commercialisation – not just technology

There is this ongoing debate around the need to be better at commercialisation of new technology from the universities in the UK. One thing that struck me this weekend when I was on a tour at Manchester University – departments of social sciences, humanities, theology and arts. We must not over look these areas as I beleive they have some real gems that have application in the outside world. There are some excellent examples of work going on in the areas of religion, social anthropology, philosophy that have a real application in the world of business and entrepreneuship – leadership, morality, ethics, reasoning, motivation, judgement, values – if they could be packaged up excellent commercial potential well and truly does exist. I recently used an innovation voucher to explore this stuff and the results where fantastic.

Commercial potential exists in areas outside of engineering and sciences but the strong argument from individuals within the university is that their purpose is to research and extend the boudaries of understanding – I can totally agree with this too!

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2 Responses to Commercialisation – not just technology

  1. Hi John,
    I liked the post however I think that even for technical/engineering companies we don’t seem to have as many spin off companies as in the US for example. Do you have any thoughts on why this may be?

    I think cross discipline collaboration could be a valuable method for getting the creative sparks flowing. I recently read http://micahjay.posterous.com/trolling-for-technologies-and-a-good-beer which I found quite interesting and relevant.

    Ben

    • johnleachwp says:

      Hi Ben – love the article and the idea of “an inspirational watering hole” – just how much business has been done in bars and Starbucks – I guess more than the local chamber of commerce!

      The point you may about not as many spin off’s in the UK than there are in the US is well documented. I think there are some deep lying cultural issues at play here – my own personal view is that of US entrepreneurs are so much better at selling – in the US a VP for sales is professionally viewed on the same level as a lawyer, accountant…in the UK sales is seen as the mucky end of the stick. If we had more academics thinking about what problems their technologies or IP solved then followed through on a plan to work out who is going to buy it ! then we would have more success – I feel that we get to caught up in the protecting of IP than selling it – as with all things its finding the balance I dont think we have the balance here – I have yet to see a sales focused “academic enterprise unit in the UK” – maybe I am not looking hard enough. Let me know what you think, cheers Ben – speak soon John

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