Commercializing Innovation

Turning Technology Breakthroughs into Products

By Jerome Schaufeld

Commercializing Innovation Cover Image

Turning Tech Breakthroughs into Products shows how to take ideas from the R&D lab, the university, the patent office, or the minds of dreamers and turn them into commercially successful products and services. It also provides detailed methods for improving the probability of success.

Full Description

  • ISBN13: 978-1-4302-6352-4
  • 275 Pages
  • User Level: Beginner to Advanced
  • Publishing August 5, 2014, but available now as part of the Alpha Program
  • Available eBook Formats: PDF
  • Print Book Price: $49.99
  • eBook Price: $34.99

Related Titles

Full Description

Commercializing technology is not easy. There are many complicated decisions to make: Where to get ideas? Which to pursue? Whom to hire? Where to manufacture? How to fund? Create a startup or license to another? As Turning Tech Breakthroughs into Products shows, you need a systematic method to answer such questions and bring sophisticated products and services to market.

In this book, successful technology entrepreneur and professor Jerome Schaufeld offers a step-by-step commercialization process that begins with assessing technology from a variety of sources and ends with taking viable products into the market. As he shows, by applying systematic processes to technology commercialization, you can create a greater number of useful products while improving the probability of their success in the marketplace. Using case studies and models, as well as the experience Schaufeld has accumulated over the years, Turning Tech Breakthroughs into Products shows readers how to:

  • Source technology that can be turned into products
  • Recognize an opportunity to create a viable product
  • Perform feasibility analyses before sinking too much money into a project
  • Find the right method and means to introduce the product to market
  • Plan the project down to the last detail
  • Execute the project in ways that improve chances of its success
Schaufeld also covers topics of great importance to entrepreneurs and business developers, like why manufacturing in the Third World is not always the best option, how to abide government regulations without letting them cripple your project, and how to compete globally when good ideas and the money to fund them now come from every corner of the world.

As a successful entrepreneur, consultant, and professor of entrepreneurship at a leading U.S. engineering school, Schaufeld’s unique vantage point allows him to provide cogent insights into both the theoretical and practical aspects of bringing products to market. By following his methods, you will improve your chances of creating successful products.

What you’ll learn

Readers will learn:

  • A step-by-step method for bringing technology products to market
  • How to systematize the commercialization of technology-based ideas
  • Where to find breakthrough technology innovations--or create them yourself.
  • How to improve the success rate of commercialization projects.
  • Different methods for marketing products to maximize impact and sales.

Who this book is for

  • Corporate executives
  • Entrepreneurs
  • Venture capitalists and angels
  • Consultants
  • Business development professionals
  • Business and engineering school professors and students
  • Government and corporate-level consultants.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: The Legacy and Myths Of Technology Commercialization

Chapter Goal: This chapter sets the stage for the book’s premise—that commercializing technology can be done more efficiently and with greater probability of success than it has been. It shows how the methods that worked in the past to bring technology to market in various forms no longer work as well as they once did—though people persist in employing them. What works better now, for example, is to seek ideas from multiple sources and to consider the alternatives to creating a startup to get a product into the market.

Chapter 2: The Commercialization Model

Chapter Goal: I introduce the commercialization model, in the form of a flow diagram. It can be used to conceptualize the journey from idea to product, including sourcing usable ideas, opportunity recognition, decision processes, financial feasibility analyses, implementation alternatives, planning, etc. It also covers the importance of having a disciplined approach to commercialization.

Chapter 3: Sources of Ideas

Chapter Goal: The model starts with an overview of the multiple sources of commercializable ideas including R&D projects, licensing, product extensions, garage-born inventions, and more. It presents attributes of each source so that readers can understand the implications of the decision to employ a particular method of idea acquisition or take a particular direction. I also cover the Bayh-Dole Act, which promotes using funded university research Intellectual Property (IP) as a resource for idea generation.

Chapter 4: Opportunity Recognition

Chapter Goal: In any quest to exploit technology, there are usually multiple sources of ideas competing for a finite amount of resources. This chapter offers a methodology for sorting out multiple options. It features a weighted average methodology that is based on the vision or goals of the organization. This method can dramatically improve the rate organizations find projects that fit their needs.

Chapter 5: Feasibility Analysis

Chapter Goal: Many people used to—and some still do—attempt to verify their hunches and opportunities on the back of an envelope. With technology commercialization, more formal feasibility studies are absolutely necessary, and this chapter shows how to do a thorough analysis that takes into account market analyses, costs and benefits, risk, resources required, decision metrics, and more. I explain a decision methodology that takes into account the uncertainty of the data. Case studies show feasibility studies done well--that result in successful products--and studies done poorly.

Chapter 6: Project Plan

Chapter Goal: Every technology commercialization project needs a plan. Unlike a business plan, which is directed to defining the need for and acquiring investment capital, a commercialization project plan is usually directed to a specific decision-making process and has a significantly detailed plan for execution. This chapter covers that detailed plan, from creating the right team or organization to setting milestones to managing risks to developing success metrics.

Chapter 7: How to Go to Market

Chapter Goal: While effective marketing is of course an important part of introducing any new product, it's best to take a step back and think hard about verifying, first, the market opportunity. Second, you need to identify the appropriate sales engine—startup, new division, franchising, licensing, joint venture, etc.—to harvest the product’s full potential. This chapter covers these topics and more.

Chapter 8: The Numbers

Chapter Goal: Whatever the project, you need close control of capital resources. Yet even with staff and control systems in place, money seeps through the cracks. Clearly, better tools are required to navigate through this quandary. I present a financial model that not helps control the variability of project cash flows, but which also allows you to change the assumptions behind the model to give it predictive capability.

Chapter 9: Organizational Dynamics

Chapter Goal: When you start a project, you need the right people in the right structure and in the right place. What most people don't anticipate is how the rate of change--technology, world events, the coming and going of people--affects the performance and the ability of the team to execute. This chapter will help readers anticipate the impact of change and how it may affect the long-term probability of a product's success.

Chapter 10: ROI: Does It Make Sense?

Chapter Goal: The opportunity is present, the plan is in place, you have access to capital, and you can assemble the right team . . . but should you go ahead full tilt? You need to step back and evaluate the overall project. Does going forward make sense in the context of corporate goals, the IRR of cash flow, the organizational balance sheet and the cost of capital? Eventually all this must be rationalized in the go/no go decision.

Chapter 11: Big Brother: Friend or Foe?

Chapter Goal: Invasive for sure, the government's impact on a commercialization project is enormous. In a long alphabet soup of interventions such as OSHA, EPA, FDA, IRS, SEC, PTO, UCC, CE, UL, Sarbanes Oxley, tariffs and a long list applicable laws and regulations affect all technology projects. Issues of control, reporting, and constraints hobble the very best of commercial opportunities. This chapter sorts through them and provides a map through the minefield.

Chapter 12: Global Competitive Forces: The Final Arbiter

Chapter Goal: Tomes have been written about the massive political and economic shifts taking place globally—in material resources, capital, human talent, manufacturing bases, government support, and more. Every technology company now operates in a global environment. While no one really understands the impact of the shift of manufacturing and services to Asia, for example, it’s clear that there are new metrics to guide the success of new ventures—like agility and adaptability, which have replaced solid and repeatable financial performance as predictor of success. This chapter shows people and companies how to keep up with a world racing into the future.

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