Winning the game of Acadopoly


Through games, we learn important life lessons, traits, and skills that help evolve our character and capabilities. After awhile, we extract these lessons and use them in our daily activities. For this post, I got to thinking about my favorite games and how the strategies of success in these games materialize in how we conduct ourselves and “win” professionally.

For instance, do you ever wonder why teachers seem to be the best Pictionary and Trivial Pursuit players around? Or tell me that your engineer friend didn’t own you in Legos and Lincoln Logs. When I apply this to the technology transfer profession, I would bet that most winners grew up dominating Monopoly and used these skill to win in the academic environment—a game called Acadopoly.

Like Monopoly, Acadopoly is a strategic game played in a chaotic environment where both the board and the players become part of the game. Here are four strategies that I take from Monopoly that can apply to dominating in the game of Acadopoly and our success in technology transfer:

  • As tempting as it might be, only focus on dominating everything on the board that’s not brown or dark blue– This applies directly to deal vetting and portfolio management. Everyone wants the big win or the easy money, but with limited resources, focusing on 1/6 of the board will take your focus off the bigger game. For instance:
    • Baltic and Mediterranean(brown) represent the low-development, market-overly-ready technology. This deal is just a tally mark for metrics and any suitor that approaches won’t pay you much. It’s not worth your time
    • Park Ave and Boardwalk (dark blue) represent the big-winner. Anyone that focuses on these developmentally-rigorous, light-years-out-there technologies will pay more to buy, build, and hold than the game will likely yield. Yes, it’s cool to have and occasionally you will win and get your name in lights, but don’t bet your office or career on it
    • Get around the board as much as possible, early- When developing a new technology and assessing commercial partners, hit the road early. More relationships are open for the taking and the capital that you spend on development of the technology will go a lot further. Wait too long and it becomes a saturated market with expensive pitfalls
    • Play the players- The wildcard in Acadopoly is how well you are able to deal with the others in the game. Once the board gets locked up, it becomes very hard to make a move unless you can work with those around you. This requires partnership building, political maneuvering, and stellar negotiation—all vital to winning at Acadopoly
    • Stay out of jail- The university campus and peer community has an extremely long and unforgiving mentality. Unless you want to jump professional markets or figure out a way to rule your current position forever, you need to be savvy, strategic, and understand that part of playing the game is making sure that people want to play with you again


Winners in technology transfer are game masters in the world of Acadopoly. Master these strategies to move your office and career forward.

What are some strategies that you use in your office, career that you have learned from a game you’ve played in the past?


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