Commercial Innovation Summarized

The commercial application of innovation can be summarized as follows:

• New technology requires creative thinking and innovative action. The creative discovery or invention is essential, but it is the implementation through strong management and multidisciplinary team performance that enables commercial success.

• The value of new technology often goes unrecognized and unfunded until the potential is put into perspective. The Riggs-Itakura somatostatin grant request to NIH was rejected as too ambitious and impractical. However, with the announcement of the success of somatostatin and the publicity that followed, the scientific community, the news media, and even Congress took notice.

• Early visionary champions drive the diffusion of new technology. In the case of biotechnology, Robert Swanson was the visionary and champion who inspired Boyer and the multibillion-dollar industry that followed.

• To attract capital for products and processes that are low on the S-curve, investor knowledge and education are required. Somatostatin drew little investment interest until its value was clearly demonstrated by way of a process to create human insulin. It was that promise that drove investment.

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