Quite a lot of technology transfer specialists have problems trying to find uses or practical applications to their portfolio of IPs. I had this problem when I was attached to Singapore’s largest technology transfer office.
Essentially, the problem was truly the problem. Many blue sky scientific research had no real world applications. So where can one find quick problems to solve.
I decided to look at the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals
(MDGs) as a starting point. These 8 goals have been identified by the UN as the problems demanding the world’s global attention. Even the Gates foundation focuses on these problems to work on. While most of us may think that these problems exist only in third world countries, the problems from these countries can affect us in a systemic fashion (See Systems Thinking). Also, these MDGs can also exist in the developed countries.
With the MDGs in mind, I read through the entire portfolio of the company’s technology offers and began to classify them according to which problem they could potentially solve. What emerged was amazing. I was beginning to notice trends in the technology portfolios, which was something an IP landscape map could not do. I found technologies from different fields being able to potentially solve a single MDG. And I could potentially see products with multiple IPs incorporated in them to be plausible.
I’ve shared how I matched 3 MDGs with over 10 IPs from my companies portfolio (Its public domain knowledge anyway).
I hope your matching will result in surprising and innovative ways of utilising your IP or technology from your tech transfer office. Feel free to share your experience or discoveries!