While universities are a hot bed of research and innovation, they often lack an entrepreneurial culture outside of the technology transfer department. It’s left up to this hard-working department to bring entrepreneurial thinking to its organization on top of its already full workload. But how do you do it when so many researchers are ingrained in their own project and not thinking of the larger picture?
Find Your Entrepreneurial Voice
In some cases bringing entrepreneurial thinking to your campus is akin to redirecting the course of a ship. You can’t turn it on a dime. You must make slow adjustments in the direction you’d like to go. In technology transfer, this begins with giving voice to the importance of entrepreneurialism – what you’re currently doing and where you plan on going. To bring it back to the boating example, regale people with your exploits while charting your next course.
Use social media to brand yourself, your department, and your organization as supporting entrepreneurialism. Talk about the importance of it on campus. Millennials, in particular, value this line of conversation. They will soon be paying attention and looking to your tech transfer department as the heart of campus entrepreneurialism.
Celebrate the Success and Learn from the Failures
As you find your voice, share the successes of entrepreneurs across campus and in your community. Being pro-entrepreneur will strengthen your reputation in this area and increase a company’s desire to work with you and your university due to this reputation. As you share successes, more will find their way to your ears.
Just as you share success, it’s important to use entrepreneurial failures as opportunities to reevaluate processes and commitments. Share these too.
Teach and Entertain
As you develop your reputation, and that of your department’s, and expand your entrepreneurial vision you must pass this knowledge and commitment outwards by teaching researchers what is expected and important in commercialization. Show how all stakeholders can work together for the betterment of society in a way where everyone feels accommodated.
You’ll also want to work with your team to bring these stakeholders together in learning opportunities, through events and intellectual exchanges. You needn’t be a translator shuffling between the two, but a bridge connecting them so that they may both learn from one another.
Most likely your technology transfer department has already laid the groundwork for bringing a more entrepreneurial culture to your university but if not, grow your voice, celebrate your successes, learn from your failures and connect those integral in making your projects a success.