One of the key elements of productive academic collaborations is the free flow of ideas that allow each participant to build off of each other’s expertise to solve challenging problems. Working with industry or start-ups is very similar. The key difference is that the problem you are trying to solve is not purely technical or scientific. Instead, you are trying to fill an unmet need in the marketplace with a new product or service. This requires collaboration with people that have a different set of skills (market research, business, etc.), but the hallmarks of a successful collaboration are the same: open, honest communication, respect for each other’s skills, and focus on a common goal.
To be successful commercializing your idea, it is critical to create trusting relationships with collaborators who will help move your ideas forward. This requires time—but if done properly, it will make all the difference.
Many researchers start their journey worried that they have no connections in the proper field. With some reflection and research, they often find that they were wrong. Most of us have a classmate, relative, or a friend of a friend who can help. Social networking tools are very helpful in this regard. Start with someone you know or who is within one or two degrees of separation. Common connections build trust.
Technology Development also maintains a network of industry representatives and entrepreneurs. We can help you get connected.
Formalizing the Relationship
Once the proper “champions” are identified through networking, then we can work with you to help formalize the relationship.
This can take several forms:
- If you are working with industry then the relationship may be formalized through a Sponsored Research Agreement, Material Transfer Agreement, or license to the intellectual property.
- If you are working to create a new company, then the relationship may be formalized through company formation, equity agreements, and a business strategy that defines the roles of each participant.
The Technology Development team can help you navigate this process.