Bridging the Valley of Death: Lessons Learned from 14 Years of Commercialization of Technology Education

8946 Words Feb 9th, 2009 36 Pages
BRIDGING THE VALLEY OF DEATH: LESSONS LEARNED FROM 14 YEARS OF COMMERCIALIZATION OF TECHNOLOGY EDUCATION

ABSTRACT
We argue for the increasing importance of providing graduate students skills in technology entrepreneurship and the commercialization of technology. We describe the lessons we have learned from fourteen years of developing commercialization of technology pedagogy and adapting it for use on four continents and within numerous corporations. We demonstrate that the straightforward theory-driven approach that we use to shape the curriculum improves our ability to learn from our mistakes and to structure small experiments to improve the pedagogy.
INTRODUCTION

Interest in the commercialization of technology and high
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Commensurate with this increased interest by academic researchers, there has been an increase in the number of university education programs worldwide that provide instruction in commercialization of technology. For example, the program we analyze in this paper has been adopted by more than twenty universities on four continents. These programs provide education and experience in using emerging technology to start a new business organization (new venture focus) or to create entities within existing firms (corporate venture focus).
There are also multiple institutional reasons for universities to exhibit increased interest in new business startups based on technologies created at the host university. Some universities are attracted to commercialization of technology because of the potential for gain due to royalty or equity positions. Kirby (2005) discusses the development of a ‘dual role’ model for universities to contribute to society by educating students but also creating research that can be commercialized into new products and services. Breznitz, O’Shea and Allen (2008) also note the potential importance of the role of university commercialization in developing regional economies. This suggests the potential value of university commercialization as a vehicle for creating regional based economic development. Many other studies mirror these claims for the

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