Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Strategic GPS: The numbers show where we’re headed with university innovation

If you took academic innovators out of the commercialization process, it could significantly reduce the likelihood that the discoveries from the lab will be turned quickly to productive uses by society outside the university.

That’s the view from Bioscience Bridge, because they believe creative academic thinking alone cannot promote medical advancement unless it is applied to real-world scientific problems and challenges.

In this blog, let’s look at some numbers on how the spreading of ideas is regularly best accomplished when an innovation is commercialized. This gives the innovation the infusion of human and financial capital that enables innovations to scale up.

Here are some numbers that show where we’re headed:

Block and Keller published “Where Do Innovations Come From? Transformations in the U.S. National Innovation System” in which they showed universities and federal laboratories have become much more important sources of the top 100 innovations over the last 35 years. They analyzed the top 100 “most technologically significant new products” listed each year in R&D magazine. In 1975, for example, they note that private firms accounted for over 70% of the R&D 100, while the academic institution share was just 15%. By 2006, just three decades later, these two shares were reversed: academia contributed over 70% of the top 100 innovations, while private firms accounted for about 25%.

University-generated innovations, if anything, should be even more important to the U.S. economy and society in the years ahead.

Moreover, I’ve always believed that creativity is thinking about new ideas, while innovation is putting ideas into practice.

That’s why in my work with Bioscience Bridge, we work with early-stage technologies using a proven process designed to configure a “road map” called Strategic GPS® Navigation Process. This process identifies the key targets, articulates the current situation (where we are) and defines the desired objective (where we want to be). Most important, it conveys the over-arching strategy and delineates the milestones to bridges the science and the business.

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