The Holy Grail

The greatest discovery of them all may be the process that guides us through the evolution of science to product, especially one that is capable of taking advantage of a great business opportunity. Our hopes in this regard form on two points of view: the science and the business.

From the technology point of view there is a tendency to hope that after the application of the technology to an existing problem, a business will pull the technology forward through the remaining commercialization steps. From the business point of view there is a hope that the technology will present itself as a product and will need only to be marketed and sold. Neither eventuality is likely.

The chances of success are increased when you have an appreciation of the difference and culture of each of the environments. The technology needs to be mentored by an understanding of the anticipated needs of the business, and the business must be vigilant of opportunities presented by emerging technology.

The ultimate process is more of an approach. The approach is both flexible and adaptive. The effort involves multidisciplinary teams of creative, success-driven professionals who have entrepreneurial talent. It's obvious when one is in the presence of a process that is working to take the technology out of the lab environment and into the marketplace. It's evident in the team members' relationships among themselves and their relationship with organizational management. The evidence is a mutual respect and appreciation for each of the necessary contributions to the opportunity.

The process is the development of a culture of innovation, irrespective of whether the parent organization is a commercial or a research enterprise.

The challenge in either situation centers on a single core concept: The opportunity must be managed by using processes that are appropriate for the maturity level of the technology. For emerging technology there must be room for error, failure, reevaluation, rehabilitation, and even abandonment. However, being afforded the opportunity to take the challenge should be seen as a high compliment.

The professionals involved and leading these efforts must exhibit a number of special attributes. Look for the presence of most of the following eight points in every member involved in the effort to bring the technology forward:

• Confidence. Confidence leverages training, qualifications, and experience for the individual to take calculated but not reckless risks.

• Focus. Participants must be outcome oriented.

• Self-sufficiency. The ability to operate and thrive independent of broad and deep organizational infrastructure stimulates creative problem solving and obstacle removal.

• Adaptability. Adaptability is active learning: analyzing, solving, and adjusting.

• Emotional stability. The desired team member balances the range of emotions (fear, anger, frustration, excitement) and does not reject the extremes for the median.

• Insightful. Being insightful in this case is the ability to know what is important in a given situation, to know what it takes to get a task done, and to filter distractions.

• Courage. Life and entrepreneurial ventures are not without their obstacles of all natures. The team member must be able to face these challenges.

• Motivation. The team wants its members to be appropriately inspired to start the journey and continue on the path.

The culture of opportunity balances soft and hard points. The culture addresses the needs and characteristics of the people, the technology, and the business. The balancing starts at the gulf where research and commercial enterprises meet.

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Internet Entrepreneurship Survival Guide

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