Tom Willemse, Week 40, Moving technologies from lab to market.

Tom Willemse, Week 40, Moving technologies from lab to market.

Hi fellow students,

When you have a thought of making a new product or service and see the opportunity it may succeed it is a long way untill it hits the market. When you develop a product in the lab or something like it, a garage just like Steve Jobs. According to this article written by Markhum (2002) you need champions, resources and formal development processes to overcome the valley of death. This valley sounds dangerous but in the end all entrepreneurs who want to achieve succes have to overcome this valley.
Valley of Death is the decision space between existing research resources and commercialization resources. The reason of this gap is the culture gap between the people on the left (research) and on the right (commercialization). Both sides need translation from the other side in order to make the own side succesful.
Like I already mentioned, you need a champion. In this article I don’t mean the German football team but someone who’s in between both sides and is excellent in translating to both sides. Without this champion there is no mutual understanding. The work of a champion is crossing the valley of death, in the following order he discovers that the research has commercial value, manifest the discovery as a product, communicate the potential through a compelling business case, aqcuire resources needed to establish potential than he uses resources to reduce risk. When the champion gets the resources he seeks approval of the project for formal development and translates the project into the criteria used for approval. After setting up the criteria the champion decides to approve or not approve project (the approval itself is not done by champion). When this is al accepted and aprover he and others will develop and launch the product.

Since there is often no reward and little encouragement for championing a project, a champion must be passionate about the project and willing to do the necessary extra work. In addition, a champion needs knowledge and skill about how to promote projects. While some people with raw enthusiasm get a project approved and implemented, those champions who possess developed skills, a strong track record, and years of experience shepherding projects succeed far more often.


APA reference:
Markham, S. K. (2002). Moving technologies from lab to market. Research-Technology Management45(6), 31-42.


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