Applying Startup Thinking to Your Technology Commercialization Department

If you lead a technology commercialization department, you have probably had the opportunity to work with startups on a number of levels. You are also (perhaps, painfully) aware that they run very differently than those in the academic sector. Startups and Academia could learn from one another as there are benefits in the way they manage day-to-day operations. Here are a few things you can take away from a startup environment to apply it to your technology commercialization department for greater success:

Nobody Asks Whose Hat It Is

In a startup, employees wear many hats. When there is a job to be done, no one asks whose hat it is, they just get it done. If they don’t, they won’t be with the startup long. Startups operate in a lean environment and can’t afford to work with anyone who is too regimented or inflexible.

Look for areas in your technology commercialization department that are suffering because of the rigidness that has been applied. If these exist, find ways to add flexibility either through redesigning process and/or revamping expectations.

Personalize Your Approach

Startups exude the “cool” factor and one of the ways they do that is through a casual, personalized communication style.

While you probably won’t adopt words like “awesome sauce” in your technology commercialization collaterals, you can look for ways to personalize your communications to your stakeholders and the community. By doing so you’ll create more interest in what you’re sharing.

Make Quick, Decisive Decisions

Startups are not bogged down in a long sign-off process. Whenever possible, make quick, yet well-researched, decisions. Look for ways to eliminate the bottleneck that could be costing your institution valuable time.

Startups and universities have a lot to learn from one another. This post talks about what valuable approaches universities can take from startups. What can startups learn from established institutions? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Leave a Comment