les Nouvelles - September 2008

The Strategic Management Of The Technology Transfer Function — Aligning Goals With Strategies, Objectives And Tactics

Michael Sharer

Director, IP Management & Commercialization, Zell-Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI, USA

Timothy Faley

Managing Director, Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies, University of Michigan Business School, Ann Arbor, MI, USA

The “technology transfer” process is complex in nature, and is made increasingly so due to expectations from internal and external stakeholders. Given this, we believe it is imperative for a technology transfer organization to engage in a comprehensive strategic planning process. It is important for any such organization to identify a specific primary goal, and to then implement strategies, objectives and tactics consistent with the chosen goal. In this paper, we compare and contrast perhaps the four most commonly stated organizational goals for operating a technology transfer function, which are: to provide a service for the organization’s researchers, to maximize the societal benefit of the new technologies, to act as an “engine” for economic development (assume local and regional), and to act as a revenue generator for the organization. We then contrast and compare the strategies, operations, and policies for offices operating under each of these four goal scenarios.

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