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2013.10.08.I author: European Association of Development Agencies -

Innovation: How to convert research into a commercial success story ?

The European Commission's DG Research and Innovation has just published a series of reports on how to convert research into commercial success stories.

Part 1 : Analysis of EU-funded research projects in the field of industrial technologies

Since commercialisation is often understood as the direct, immediate conversion of research into economic success the research team switched to the concept of (successful) market-oriented exploitation, i.e. any exploitation of research outcome that contributes to a positive economic effect for the organisations involved. In general, there is an immense variety of forms of positive economic effects based on research outcome and an equally large variety of (path-) ways to get there.

Consequently, two main types of pathways were identified. To convert their research in a very direct, linear way into a product or service available to the market without including major additional development steps. The market-oriented exploitation process had to put substantial additional effort into transforming their research outcome into a commercially relevant and available product or service. Thus, their pathways to market-oriented exploitation became rather nonlinear and complex as they were affected by technological set-backs, feedback loops with
other (parallel) innovation or R&D projects etc.

Apart from retracing the pathways of market-oriented exploitation, the study at hand set out to identify and analyse the impact factors (obstacles overcome and challenges met) of such pathways of market-oriented exploitation; in their entirety often referred to as the ‘valley of death’. It turned out to be most relevant and necessary to differentiate the technological from the commercial valley of death. While the valley of death does indeed exist for EU-funded R&D projects, the market-oriented exploitation processes analysed by the study at hand in most cases managed to bridge the former they often struggled
with the latter, i.e. finding an avant-garde customer who provides a first return-on-investment and signals the feasibility of a technology to more risk-averse customers is crucial for the success of commercially exploiting research outcome.

Altogether, some 50 impact factors were identified as affecting the success of market-oriented exploitation processes ranging from the type of research conducted, the composition of the original research consortium, management and governance of research and exploitation processes to international competition, standardisation and regulation.

Get the full report here.

Part 2 : Analysis of innovation successes in the field of industrial technologies

The study aimed to shed light on the question of how to best fund research projects in the Nanoscience, Nanotechnologies, New Materials and Production Processes (NMP) area to promote and improve the exploitation of results. The report provides recommendations on how to increase the innovation output in the Seventh Framework Programme project cycle and in the future Horizon 2020 Programme and in particular, how to foster innovation at all the stages of the project cycle, expand the exploitation side of projects, and improve the entrepreneurial strategies and capacities of Project Partners.

Click here for the full report.

Part 3 : Innovation Management for Practitioners

1. Why a good planning of innovation-relate activities is crucial ?
2. Innovation pathways, what can we learn for EU-funded industrial technologies projects ?
3. Key factors for successful innovation management
4. Activities of the innovation trajectory
5. How to address innovation issues at proposal stage and during the project lifecycle
6. Support and Information Sources

Read more here.

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