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Commercialising Science and Technology-enabled Innovation

Rethinking Innovation

Our work over the last two decades has focused on understanding and tackling the challenge of commercialising science and technology enabled innovation in a systematic way by firms of all sizes. The intellectual basis of our approach is analysed and discussed in detail in Camels, Tigers & Unicorns: Rethinking science and technology-enabled innovation. This approach fundamentally depends on an explicit new conceptual framework which provides an integrated commercialisation narrative and the provision of tools, with examples, for use by firms to develop strategies, agree on priorities and execute plans.

The commercialisation of science and technology-enabled innovation is a diffusion process indicated by growth in customer numbers. We identify three discontinuities on this journey where customer growth stalls, reflected in the Triple Chasm Model: Chasm I corresponds to the point at which the initial concept or idea is converted into a working prototype which demonstrates the new product or service; Chasm II, not identified before, corresponds to the point at which the early product is converted to a fully functioning product or service with a sustainable business model; Chasm III corresponds to the point at which significant commercial scaling of the product or service can proceed.

Our Commercialisation Vector model explains how firms can achieve and maintain competitive control over key strategic resources in an innovation context. We define four primary ‘external’ vectors: market spaces, proposition framing & the competitive environment, customer definition, and distribution, marketing & sales. We then define six primary ‘internal’ vectors, which reflect the ability of the firm to change its trajectory: technology development & deployment, product & service definition & synthesis, manufacturing & assembly, intellectual property management, funding & investment, and talent, leadership & culture. Finally we define two ‘composite’ vectors covering commercialisation strategy and business models.

We use a new Commercialisation Canvas built on three key components: the Triple Chasm Model which provides the basis for modelling the growth of firms over time; the application of twelve Commercialisation Vectors along the commercialisation trajectory; and modified technology readiness levels, mTRLs, which describe the journey with finer granularity. This allows us to map the position of each firm in terms of how far it has travelled already along the ‘maturity curve’. This provides a powerful insight for the firm in terms of future trajectory and the resources required, disaggregated into the vectors and associated sub-vectors: this level of granularity can provide practical guidance to the leadership of a firm in tackling the challenges it faces.

Our approach also enables mature, established firms to address the ‘holy grail’ of ‘corporate innovation’ and to explore and compare build, buy and partnering strategies.

11 Jan 2017