Solving the #1 Complaint in Tech Transfer: Communication

For the professionals working in tech transfer, the criticism (fair or not) is as old as the department. Researchers feel there’s a lack of communication between their departments and tech transfer. Whether real or perceived, it’s the biggest struggle we hear about. Addressing researchers’ concerns, and improving their experience, go a long way in molding their opinion of the department. This makes for improved relationships and continued improvements in communication. Here are a few ways to develop greater tech transfer communication and influence:

How to Improve Communication between Researchers and Tech Transfer

Have you ever heard, “The best way to improve communication is to communicate.”? While it seems a bit infantile in its simplicity, the message holds true but the practice can be a bit more challenging.

Look for Stumbling Blocks

Look at how often communications between the tech transfer team and the researchers and inventors occur. Where could they use more information? What questions are they asking?

In addressing struggles with communication it’s best to understand that some topics require immediate notification, while others will be more successful if a consensus is built around them. The ability to differentiate between when rapid message delivery is needed and when agreement between the two departments must occur, is the mark of an effective communicator and leader.

Deliver Decisive Tech Transfer Communications

Some of the most common stumbling blocks on the path to effective communication occur during the announcement of difficult decisions. In an attempt to avoid providing bad news (such as the decision not to pursue a research project), no news is communicated. This draws the process out and makes the researcher or inventor less trusting of it. When the tech transfer department makes a decision not to pursue a project, the news should be delivered quickly and decisively.

Quick communications do not mean a 3-second response before leaving for the day, however. The decision should be communicated to the researcher as soon after it occurs as possible but do not try and get through this communication quickly. Take the time to explain the logic behind the decision. While s/he will certainly feel disappointed, a well-conceived response will help the researcher have a greater appreciation for the logic behind it and may improve his/her chances on a project being pursued in the future.

Create an Objective Method for Review

Creating a research evaluation allows for a more objective look at research projects and provides constructive criticism for the research and future endeavors. It also helps in the delivery of difficult information and acts as a conversation starter for discussions about the research. The form may also help the tech transfer department in its creation of a UVP should the project be selected for commercialization.

A written evaluation also makes the process more transparent and easier for the stakeholders to follow.

What methods are being employed in tech transfer that have helped improve communication in your area? Leave us a message below.

image credit: © morgueFile / jppi


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