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Following product development (also known as R&D), the final stage of commercialization is moving the technology into the marketplace. Several different paths can lead to creating a revenue stream from completed research projects. Some of these paths include:
Guide - by the Missile Defense Agency's (MDA) Technical Assistance Program
Researchers interested in commercializing their technology can benefit from reading this guide developed by the MDA. The guide is a compendium of online resources that explain the process of commercializing technology. Each page provides a description of a topic, with links to more information.
- How can I obtain funding to keep my business alive?
- How do I prepare a business plan?
- How do I protect my intellectual property?
- How do I license my technology?
- How can I create a strategic alliance?
- What problems will I encounter when I scale-up my business?
- Where can I get professional advice?
You can view the guide at www.mdatechnology.net located under the heading Additional Resources.
Slideshow - by Neil Maclure
Learn about commercialization by view this informative slide show called Product Commercialization. It outlines the basics and introduces key concepts and terminology. Be sure to read the transcript below the slideshow for more information on each slide.
Guide - by the Advanced Technology Development Center
Find out more about the key Elements of Your Commercialization Plan that need to be addressed.
Developing your innovation will demand your business resources and your emotions. Before committing to that investment, you need to perform comprehensive searches of the commercial market, the peer literature in your field and the United States Patent Database. The information you develop will provide indicators about the social, commercial and technical viability of your innovation and create a foundation for making informed business decisions.
Conducting a Review of the Literature
Your innovation may take you into new technical arenas. You may already possess the necessary innovation expertise and just need to brush up on the current state of the art. Conducting a literature review will acquaint you with the research that surrounds or borders your area of innovation. You must be prepared to convince a technical expert proposal reviewer that you have the knowledge necessary for leadership in the proposed project field.
- To identify trade/scientific journal articles that may contain useful information try searching the Directory of Open Access Journals database, which contains thousands of hard-to-find publications from around the world, representing many scientific topics. http://www.doaj.org
- To find the latest information and research relating to your idea go to Infotrieve. This site contains a database of 10 million abstracts and 30,000 scientific, technical, medical and scholarly journals. http://www.infotrieve.com/document-delivery-service
- The Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC) is the central facility for the collection and dissemination of scientific and technical information for the Department of Defense (DoD). Much of this information is made available by DTIC in the form of technical reports about completed research, and research summaries of ongoing research. http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/
- The National Technical Information Service (NTIS) is the federal government's central source for the sale of scientific, technical, engineering, and related business information by or for the U.S. government with complementary materials from international sources. Approximately 2.5 million products are available in a variety of formats including online, electronic, multimedia, CD-ROM, paper and microfiche. You can access information on more than 750,000 products from this web site. Thousands of new products are added weekly. Additionally, many records now include free links to the full-text publication on an agency's web site, or can be downloaded directly from the NTIS archival copy for a nominal charge. http://www.ntis.gov/
Market Research - Competition, Similar Products, and Opportunities
The objective of the SBIR program is to fund innovation research and development for the ultimate goal of commercialization. Companies need to be planning commercially BEFORE they write the first proposal. One piece of this planning process is to collect information. Market knowledge may be found through library and on-line research, telephone inquiries, retail outlets and catalog searches, securing product samples, networking with the SBIR agency and manufacturing companies and more. The following bullets are key questions that must be answered through your market research:
- What are the different types of opportunities for my innovation?
- How is the problem you identified being solved now?
- Who is the end user?
- What can you find out about the geographic, demographic and psychographic profiles of your end users?
- Are there many end users or only a select few?
- What are the different types of markets in which the product might be sold?
- How do sales opportunities look?
- What are the industry trends?
- Is your end user a manufacturer, supplier, distributor, governmental entity, or private customer?
- How does your end-user conduct business (e.g., direct sales, contracts, request for proposals)?
- What industry standards or regulatory constraints might affect your concept?
- Do you know which Standard Industrial Classification Code (SIC) or North American Industry Classification System (NAIC) code(s) fit your technology?
- How Do You Answer These Questions?
- Conduct a keyword search, using a search engine like Google. www.google.com
- Identify trade associations that relate to your innovation or invention. Go to their websites, review the site's content, and/or contact association staff.
- Identify and review the web sites of your competitors.
- Identify and read industry trade journals.
- Conduct informal end-user surveys.
- Interview end-users and marketing people at the manufacturing companies.
- Review annual reports for the market leaders at http://www.sec.gov/edgar/searchedgar/webusers.htm
- Identify Montana demographic and economic data at http://ceic.commerce.mt.gov/
- Identify national demographic and economic data at www.census.gov
- To determine which SIC or NAIC code fits your technology go to: http://www.census.gov/epcd/www/naics.html
- To identify Montana manufacturers go to: http://www.mmis.umt.edu/
- To identify North American manufacturers use the Thomas Register of Manufacturers at: www.thomasregister.com or go to a library and use the American Manufacturers Directory.
- Forbes, at http://www.forbes.com/2002/05/09/bestplaces.html, is a good site to find articles and other useful business information.
- Thomas Regional at http://www.trendonline.com/, is a site to identify products/services from more than 500,000 distributors, manufacturers and service companies.
- National Technology Transfer Center provides information on commercializing technologies. http://www.nttc.edu/
Are you ready to meet with a counselor to learn more about commercialization your technology?
Register for one-on-one counseling today or call MTIP (406) 841-2749.