Imagine :The Greatest Challenge for Technology Innovators


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Imagine :The Greatest Challenge for Technology Innovators

  1. 1. imagine Your Inno-IP magazine July 2010 Www. The Greatest Challenge for Technology Innovators experienced guides, perseverance and most importantly How to evolve good ideas into valuable a clear vision of the summit. There are many barriers innovations? that prevent us from realizing the true value from our ideas. The First Anniversary issue of MIT’s Technology Review, Indian Edition (July) carries a list of grand We face a real challenge in evolving our ideas into challenges for technologists in India. The timing of this innovations. However, it is very important that we take extensive study is very appropriate. We could look at our ideas successfully to the market “For it doesn’t this list as an ensemble of problems that challenges the matter where scientific discoveries and breakthrough most innovative of the technology minds or as a technologies originate – for national prosperity, the bouquet of opportunities to improve the quality of living important thing is who commercializes them”, said Amar of the poorest of the poor or as a bunch of keys that Bhide (Where Innovation creates value, The McKinsey open up a sustainable future for our children’s children Quarterly, 2009). Let us look at the factors that help a – it is equally exciting from any of these perspectives. technical idea to reach the market. At the outset, we This list is a compass that will help us to direct our need to incubate our ideas till they grow into healthy efforts towards the important technology problems. I inventions. A fresh technical idea is as delicate as a new am fully confident that we, the technology community, born baby and it needs care and private space during its are ready with the insights to address each of these early days. Next, we have to harness the inventions with problems. When we as a community share our insights, the right strategy to create valuable intellectual pool our resources and further build upon the insights property. The intellectual protection of the invention through focused ideation, we will get good ideas. We acts like a fence and allows it to grow and blossom into a are all trained to solve such technology problems and strong technology solution. We should learn to we routinely come up with good ideas, hence the effectively monetize our intellectual property to create journey so far is on well laid roads and smooth terrain. affordable technology solutions. Finally we need to How do we take our ideas beyond this point? The trek creatively translate the technology solutions into beyond this point is on a difficult terrain, dense fog that innovations that succeed in the market. We need to blinds us, very less oxygen that make us gasp, slippery evolve a process that will ensure that the ideas we slopes that slow us down, unpredictable avalanches that pursue lead to technology solutions that are truly threaten our lives, Yetis and whatnot. We need desirable, technically feasible and economically viable. determination, guts, special gear, reserve oxygen,  What is the challenge? the poor conversion of good ideas into truly valuable innovation. The fundamental issues behind this challenge are - 1|Page
  2. 2. How to create the vision for technology a competitive advantage. The creation of a innovation? How to engage the experts and winning product needs a good knowledge of focus their efforts? How to organize the the unmet needs and a focused effort to resources? How to deliver the innovations in meet those needs through technology time? innovations. Typical examples of a desired, but currently unmet, need in technology  How is it a challenge? when ideas don’t evolve products could be lower cost, longer life, into innovations, the inventors get discouraged, more user friendly, environment friendly etc. technology managers are frustrated, Sustaining the innovation efforts becomes a stakeholders are disappointed, technology challenge when the revenue generated by development stagnates, the business loses new products is non-existent or delayed. confidence in R&D, new product development falls into a coma and ultimately the market Path forward - Open innovation models have suffers. demonstrated, in the recent past, their power to accelerate the evolution of ideas into innovations and  Who faces the challenge? technologists and significantly reduce the cost involved in this process. scientists everywhere face this challenge Encouraged by this demonstration, many big whether they are in university research groups, multinational companies have thrown open their government laboratories, industrial R&D teams technology challenges to the public and they are able to in large companies, small technology start-ups access innovation talent beyond their walls. Innovators etc. Though the innovation environment is across nations and walks of life – school kids, college significantly different across these organizations, students, house wives, retired professors, end users – the challenge remains the same. participate in the ideation process. Long unsolved technology problems get solved, as if by magic, in this  When and where is it a challenge? the challenge giant collective effort. We could follow up the creation arises typically when the market need is ahead of the grand technology challenges with an open of the technology or when the technology is innovation based approach to generate innovative ahead of the market. The challenge exists in solutions. As the first step, we should aim to create and most emerging / developing / fast-growing tap an innovation network across the country to meet economies. The challenge is intense, for a late this grand challenge. entrant, in technology domains where the IP Authors: space is crowded. The absence of government Dr Shantha Shankar is the Chief Advisor and Head regulation or enforcement favoring the new Technology & Patents at Innomantra Consulting. She is technology could further make things difficult. a materials scientist and a patent professional. Her expertise is in patent drafting in advanced materials and  Why is it a challenge? Nanotechnology domains and prosecution with USPTO. o Management of IP – Inventors create valuable IP when they patent their ideas and inventions, but most of them don’t realize Dr Shankar is the Principal Scientist at Dow Chemicals the importance of monetizing their IP. Even India R&D. He is also a professor of Technology and large technology-based businesses and R&D Innovation Management. He is passionate about organizations do not effectively monetize mentoring budding technology entrepreneurs. their intellectual capital. Sustaining the innovation efforts becomes a challenge mail : when the IP fails to generate value. ©2010 Innomantra consulting, o New Product Development – Effective use of 1st July 2010 technology to differentiate the product in the market is the most reliable way to create 2|Page