No Silver Bullet

Last week we attended Knowledge Commercialisation Australasia (KCA) 2013 – Investing in the Future. It is quite fitting that my last blog was focused around connectedness being an important aspect of forward planning – as this ended up being an underlying theme of the whole conference. I spent a fair bit of time trying to increase my network within the profession during the conference, and really enjoyed meeting everyone.

Terminology that was used in tSydney he context of successful knowledge transfer included geographical concentration, strategic partnerships, engage, get out more, collaboration, long term relationship, talk to industry, and social innovation.

The knowledge transfer profession is very complex, involving teaching, networking events, consultancy, continuing professional development, collaborative research, contract research, licencing and company creation. The reason being that knowledge comes in many forms, all we are trying to do is increase utilisation of the research outcomes.

It was apparent to me that social benefits across the world are becoming increasingly important for proving the impact of research. As most in the profession are aware not many offices are self sufficient, so proving the wider benefits of such activities are important. There is one vital problem with this, it is hard to measure and all of us know how important KPI’s are. AUTM has started a new campaign called “Put a Face on It”, to market the wider impact of knowledge transfer –check it out here (http://www.autm.net/Put_A_Face_On_IT/11543.htm)

Apparently there are two office models in the US, Technology Licencing and Technology Licencing +, the difference being one is very profitable and the other is 95% of offices in US. Basically the profitable offices purely focus on licensing, because they can. Whereas the others have to try make it work through attempting multiple different ways to increase the number and quality of projects coming through the pipeline.

Even though the use of societal benefit is important, we are never going to be able to shy away from needing to make money. I think one of the key take aways for me was to investigate the potential social, economic and profitable benefits equally – looking towards achieving the greatest impact possible.

If you are interested in learning more about KCA please visit the website http://www.kca.asn.au/. I would especially encourage you to visit the website and check out the KCA scholarship program which supports the travel and registration costs for one lucky KCA member to attend AUTM 2014 Annual Meeting (http://www.autm.net/Meeting_Home2.htm) in San Francisco, California. It is a great opportunity for early career professionals to learn more about Innovation Transfer and expand their networks.

Lisa van den Berg – Commercial  Manager