If Your Business Depends on Intellectual Property

If your business depends on intellectual property (IP), then “best practices” for your IP business activities are those that…

…support the business objectives of the company and

…increase company value.

For any high-performing business, there are 4 key building blocks: strategy, processes, resources and organization. Here are these building blocks applied to IP business practices:

  1. Strategy: Which invention concepts are we free to develop? Which are worth patenting? Can we/should we consider an Engineering-to-Own-the-SpaceSM innovation Strategy? 1
  2. Processes: Who decides how and where we should invest our development dollars?
  3. Resources: Can we accelerate our development or broaden our reach by bringing in technologies from the outside? If so, which ones, from where, and for how much?
  4. Organization: Do our IP development initiatives and outcomes have top management’s attention, understanding, and endorsement?

Adopting high performance IP  business practices can enable you to:

strengthen and even shift the basis of your competition

protect IP that delivers high value to your customers and end-users

avoid product and/or technology obsolescence

We at Prakteka LLC developed our IP expertise in the context of numerous and diverse client assignments, all focused on using intellectual property to create and sustain business value. We are here to help you, too,  maximize the impact of your IP on business value.  For a plan customized to your needs, contact us at https://www.prakteka.com/contact-us/

  1. For more on the “Engineering-to-Own-the-Space” Innovation Strategy, follow this link to the SlideShare presentation: https://www.slideshare.net/mhastbacka/engineeringtoownthespace-innovation-strategy

Engineering-to-Own-the-Space is a service mark of Prakteka LLC.

Marketing Technology? What Your Prospects Want to Know

Seems as if everyone is marketing technology these days. Start-ups, mid-sized companies, inventors, individual entrepreneurs, major global corporations…all of them are promoting new technologies. But, when it comes to moving their prospective customers down the “awareness, consideration, preference, sale” funnel, many marketers are stalled even before they start!

Before you start preparing your marketing presentation, consider these 5 key facts your prospects want to know about your technology:

  1. What are you selling? An idea? A product? A technology? A development or commercialization collaboration?
  2. What does it do? Prospects don’t buy ideas or products or technologies or collaborations…they buy what these things DO! And they are most interested in what these things DO for THEM!
  3. Do any other companies provide what you’re selling? If so, your prospects need to know how you are different and better, in ways that are meaningful to them.
  4. How do you know what you’re selling works? And how do you know your offering is better than any competitor’s offering that might offer the same functionality? Said another way: who has validated your claims and how?
  5. What is the value of your offering to your prospect? Reduced cost? Better performance? Easier to manufacture? Long life? Simple servicing? Understand what’s valuable to your prospect and direct your answer accordingly.

Use the above 5-point guide not only to prepare your marketing presentation but also to identify the prospects with genuine need for and interest in what you’re offering.

Want some customized help in preparing your marketing presentation? Contact us at https://www.prakteka.com/contact-us/

Or email us directly at mah@prakteka.com

For more about technology commercialization, go here https://www.prakteka.com/category/technology-commercialization/

Lessons Learned in Technology Assessment…Lesson 6…

This is the last of a series of six posts to share with you important lessons we’ve learned through our experiences working with numerous commercial clients in a variety of situations. On the path to your success in developing and commercializing technologies, they will help you avoid common pitfalls, unwarranted assumptions, and other sources of technical and commercial bias that could add up to business failures.

Lesson Six.

View Your Assessment as an Integrated Set of Findings to Establish Your Basis of Competition

Technical and market elements of a technology assessment should be considered together to determine the attractiveness and viability of candidate technologies within the realities of target addressable markets.

Lesson Six Case Study:

Client:  Global Chemicals and Materials Company

Situation:

  • Develop and introduce new products based on its proprietary nonwovens materials technologies, already successful in apparel insulation applications

Technology Assessment Need:  Develop and characterize the potential “product/market” roadmap that could be addressed by the client’s non-woven materials technologies

Our approach:

  • Identified acoustic (noise reduction) applications as promising high volume opportunity
  • Researched primary and secondary performance needs across an array of acoustic applications in commercial and industrial markets
  • Considering research findings holistically, identified and rank-ordered market opportunities which client could uniquely fill with its materials and technologies

Outcome: Acoustic applications with flame retardant functionality were identified as a segment in which our client could establish a basis of competition over other market participants. We segmented the market by level of flame and smoke performance requirements.

By understanding the market size of each applications and the associated flame/smoke performance requirements, our client could make sound judgments regarding the return on investment needed to develop application-specific non-woven products. In effect, the result was an array of short-, medium-, and long-range opportunities in acoustic applications.

For more on best practices in moving from lab-to-market, see https://www.prakteka.com/category/technology-assessment/

__________________________________

Are you looking for new customers for your existing technologies and products?

Do you have excess manufacturing capacity you’d like to put to use?

Or are you launching a new product and need to understand which end-use applications are the most promising?

We’re ready and able to help you make your decisions with confidence. Contact us at https://www.prakteka.com/contact-us/

or via direct email at mah@prakteka.com

Lessons Learned in Technology Assessment…Lesson 5…

This is the fifth of a series of posts to share with you six important lessons we’ve learned through our experiences working with numerous commercial clients in a variety of situations. On the path to your success in developing and commercializing technologies, they will help you avoid common pitfalls, unwarranted assumptions, and other sources of technical and commercial bias that could add up to business failures.

Lesson Five.

More Facts Mean More Focus.

The “end game” of any technology assessment is to formulate and implement a plan of action – a plan that has beneficial business outcomes. Begin every technology assessment with that plan of action in mind. Doing so will drive you to develop more facts related to your implementation plan. And developing more facts will sharpen your focus and help establish priorities.

Lesson Five Case Study:

Client:  Multi-plant commodity inorganic chemicals producer

Situation:

  • For both environmental as well as economic reasons, the client was interested in identifying ways to turn a waste stream into a marketable co-product.
  • The client had a vague idea that they could turn their waste stream into a mineral extender/filler/additive, but they were not currently selling into any markets with those types of raw material needs.

Technology Assessment Need:  Develop and characterize the potential “product/market” roadmap that could be addressable by the client’s upgraded waste stream co-product.

Our approach:

  • Analyzed the economic balance point between purifying the waste stream and its saleability as a co-product
  • Researched industry needs, by market segment, in terms of particle size and purity
  • Balanced market segment needs against the cost of refining the waste stream into saleable form

Outcome: We identified sealants as an attractive application area for the client’s co-product and projected the size of the client’s addressable market for the next several years.

On the basis of our findings, the client decided to adjust their manufacturing plant to focus on the specifications needed for the sealant market and to begin commercial development efforts directed toward that market.

For more on best practices in moving from lab-to-market, see https://www.prakteka.com/category/technology-assessment/

________________________________

Are you looking for new customers for your existing technologies and products?

Do you have excess manufacturing capacity you’d like to put to use?

Or are you launching a new product and need to understand which end-use applications are the most promising?

We’re ready and able to help you make your decisions with confidence. Contact us at https://www.prakteka.com/contact-us/

or via direct email at mah@prakteka.com

Lessons Learned in Technology Assessment…Lesson 4…

This is the fourth of a series of posts to share with you six important lessons we’ve learned through our experiences working with numerous commercial clients in a variety of situations. On the path to your success in developing and commercializing technologies, they will help you avoid common pitfalls, unwarranted assumptions, and other sources of technical and commercial bias that could add up to business failures.

Lesson Four.

Find Out if “New” and “Improved” REALLY MATTER!

In this era of “voice of the customer” and data analytics, coupled with feedback from an eager salesforce, the sheer volume and rate of change of market input to new product development and improved product development activities can be overwhelming. Keep in mind that not everything “new” or “improved” is valuable or useful to your customer.

Lesson Four Case Study:

Client:  Global producer and marketer in the graphic arts industry

Situation:

  • Client goal: 30% of annual sales from new product introductions
  • Global salesforce suggested over 80 “must have” or “want to have” features for the next-generation graphic arts equipment, whittled down to 25 features after internal review
  • Resources required to develop and introduce these 25 features: $40 million

Technology Assessment Need:  Determine which of these 25 features really mattered to its global customer base

Our approach:

  • Identify 160 lead users of graphic arts equipment in 7 countries on 4 continents
  • Developed statistically based array of interview questions to elicit which new product features really mattered to them and why?

Outcome: Our work led to 2 important findings

  • First: our client’s current generation of graphic arts equipment very closely matched the equipment that was top-rated by our group of lead users. In fact, there were only 2 feature areas where our client’s equipment lagged the ratings of the top-rated competitor.
  • Second: we learned that the 25+ new “bells and whistles” initially proposed would not position our client well for the future. Customers of our client were positioning themselves to respond to the rapid technology changes associated with digital graphic arts equipment and were changing their ways of managing their capital expenditures in this area.

Based on our findings, our client company decided to allocate a portion of its $40 million product development budget to tackling the two features that customers rated lower than those of its competition. The rest of the development budget was redeployed to related product management activities and exploration of emerging digital technologies, both of which held promise for a sustainable impact on the bottom line.

For more on best practices in moving from lab-to-market, see https://prakteka.com/category/technology-assessment/

_________________________

Are you looking for new customers for your existing technologies and products?

Do you have excess manufacturing capacity you’d like to put to use?

Or are you launching a new product and need to understand which end-use applications are the most promising?

We’re ready and able to help you make your decisions with confidence. Contact us at https://www.prakteka.com/contact-us/

or via direct email at mah@prakteka.com

Lessons Learned in Technology Assessment…Lesson 3…

This is the third of a series of posts to share with you six important lessons we’ve learned through our experiences working with numerous commercial clients in a variety of situations. On the path to your success in developing and commercializing technologies, they will help you avoid common pitfalls, unwarranted assumptions, and other sources of technical and commercial bias that could add up to business failures.

This lesson: Think of your technology as a “functionality”

Technology needs to be useful – it needs to “function” in ways that are useful to prospective customers. Chances are your technology has multiple potential end use applications that you haven’t even thought of yet.

Lesson Three Case Study:

Client: Custom manufacturer and converter of polymers and fabrics with patented silicone-coated fabric technology. This proprietary technology enabled a useful finished product: surgical drapes that could withstand multiple sterilization cycles.

Situation:
• Manufacturing line for the novel surgical drape products was running at much less than capacity.
• Client wanted to fill the idle capacity without investing new capital.
• The obvious line extension would be other types of “reusables” sold to the medical products industry, but that industry was already saturated with a host of reusables as well as disposables, available at very low cost.

Technology Assessment Need: Do any other high-value end-use applications exist for products our client could make using its proprietary technology and its existing manufacturing capabilities?

Our approach:
• Identify the functions of the client’s product as viewed by its customers
• For each of the product’s useful functions, assess quantitatively its “value-in-use” to the customer
• Identify other addressable market segments/customers with similar functional requirements and value-in-use needs and for which our client’s product could be immediately useful and cost-competitive.

Outcome: Tapping relevant industry experts, we discovered that:
• It’s common practice in the nuclear power industry to contract out for services related to maintenance worker uniforms.
• In the textile rental segment of the nuclear services market, disposable fabrics are not used
• Maintenance worker uniforms with increased service life and/or greater feeling of comfort and durability have a competitive edge.

By viewing our client’s technology in terms of its functionality, we identified a potential new market segment and gave sharp focus to our client’s subsequent end-use applications development plans.

It’s not necessarily easy to find such out-of-the-box solutions. In this case, we brought together a range of end-use industry experts to bring fresh input to generating potential new applications for our client’s technology and product.

…Are you looking for new customers for your existing technologies and products?
…Do you have excess manufacturing capacity you’d like to put to use?
…Or are you launching a new product and need to understand which end-use applications are the most promising?

We’re ready and able to help you make your decisions with confidence. Contact us at http://www.prakteka.com/contact-us/
or via direct email at mah@prakteka.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lessons Learned in Technology Assessment…Lesson 2…

This is the second of a series of posts to share with you six important lessons we’ve learned through our experiences working with numerous commercial clients in a variety of situations. On the path to your success in developing and commercializing technologies, they will help you avoid common pitfalls, unwarranted assumptions, and other sources of technical and commercial bias that could add up to business failures.

Lesson Two.

Avoid Single-Point Projections.

Whether you’re talking about sales, profit, or manufacturing cost projections, single point projections can be misleading.

Lesson Two Case Study:

Client:  Producer of bulk fine chemicals with new, developmental production technologies

Situation:

  • This producer believed that its family of 10-12 developmental production technologies provided a cost advantage over its established competition.
  • This “belief” was based on single-point manufacturing cost projections for each of its developmental production technologies.
  • The client had already invested almost half of the required time and financial resources needed to take the technologies to a commercial stage.

Technology Assessment Need:  The client was uncertain about possible problems in production scale-up, which could affect manufacturing cost, and wanted an outside third party to assess the technologies before further investments were made.

Our approach:

  • Utilizing an analysis tool called “technical cost modeling”, we developed manufacturing cost probability curves for each of the production technologies.
  • We also developed cost probability curves for the production technologies already in use by our clients’ competition.

Here is what our cost modeling analysis revealed:

  • Even though there were differences between the average cost of our client’s production technologies and the technologies of its competition, there was significant overlap in the cost probability curves, i.e., the likely production costs for both our client and its competition were much closer than our client’s single-point cost projection led them to believe.
  • Among our client’s 10-12 developmental production technologies, only 3 or 4 possessed manufacturing cost differences distinct enough to be a basis for competition in the marketplace, although the client had invested in scale-up for all.

Outcome: Our client chose to commercialize only those few technologies that showed significant and sustainable cost advantage.

For more on best practices in moving from lab-to-market, see http://www.prakteka.com/category/technology-assessment/

___________________________________________________________

Are you about to make decisions regarding investments in R&D scale-up? In manufacturing?

Are you basing those investment decisions on cost projections? Sales projections? Profit margin projections?

We’re ready and able to help you make your decisions with confidence. Contact us at http://www.prakteka.com/contact-us/

or via direct email at mah@prakteka.com