Technology Community 
September/October 2000 edition


Technology Transfer and the Business in the Box

Guest Author: Michael Jude, Enterprise Management Associates

The meaning of technology transfer has been a source of much discussion within the Technology Transfer Society. What is it? How is it done? What value can TTS offer in the context of facilitating such transfers? All good questions, but doomed to become even more contentious as e-business becomes the norm.

e-Business has changed the rules for much of the business world. Where, in the brick and mortar world, the adoption of a technology was characterized by a slow evaluation and adoption process, in the e-business world, such things can happen practically overnight. To give a good case in point, it took over 20 years for the cell phone industry to produce the first really portable cell phone instruments. During the development of the StarTac model, Motorola designed and produced the first production models in something less than a year. And now it can produce new models using advanced CAD/CAM even faster than that. In fact one estimate is that if you canít exploit a new technology in 3 months or less, you are probably not going to be successful in the market.

How is such technology deployment accomplished? Well, one way is what we at Enterprise Management Associates call the "business in a box." All this means is that the typically physical infrastructure for a company can now be replaced by software residing on the web. For the first time in human history, it is possible to create the entire value chain in virtual space. This includes the front office functions, back office functions, prototyping, manufacturing, warehousing and customer care.

There are companies on the web right now that provide a place for engineers to design, test and prototype new ideas. If the ideas pan out, they can market them, fabricate them and warehouse them. All these functions are a couple of mouse clicks away. There are also sites that provide the accounting and management functions, and still others that provide the marketing functions. Plug them all together and you have a business that exists solely on your lap top computer.

But it doesnít stop there. There are also sites that market intellectual property. It is now possible to obtain a good idea for sale on the web. And it is even possible to obtain funding, albeit, that function is still developing.

What does all of this mean for technology transfer? It changes the whole dynamic. Technology transfer expertise will not be needed to make connections in the future or even to find technologies. Rather, technology transfer will be the process of facilitating the construction of businesses in a box.

It is possible that some enterprising technology transfer specialist even now is building a gateway on the web where an entrepreneurial individual can go, look over a list of good ideas that are available for development, select one, connect to interested venture capital sources, connect with interested engineers, fabricate a prototype, test it, manufacture it, warehouse it, market it or sell it, collect the revenues, account for costs and profits, pay taxes, and reap the rewards. All from the comfort of a chair by the side of pool somewhere.

Technology transfer as an expertise, must be one of enabling the delivery of technology as a marketable product at warp speed. This makes it almost inevitable that technology transfer practitioners will be the ones who perfect virtual business and who will define the dynamics of creating businesses in a box.

Headlines from the September/October edition of Technology Community

Page 2 Optics Illuminating Our Daily Lives
Page 3 Commerce Department Releases Third Digital Economy Report
Page 4 Science & Engineering Indicators Reveal Complex Social Changes
Page 5 Teachers Participate in Scientific Work
Page 6 Out in Front -- NIST-F1 World Clock Debuts
Page 7 About Town --Researchers Develop Protoytpe Fuel Cell
Page 8 RVC and CU-BAC Columns
Page 9 CPIA Column
Page 10 R&D FUNDING -
-DOE Provides $10 million to Develop Biobased Products
Page 11 TIPS & TREASURES -- New Tech Transfer Web Portal


Any technology organization or company is invited to submit brief articles via fax or e-mail to:
CU Business Advancement Center,
5353 Manhattan Cir., Suite 202, Boulder, CO 80303.
Phone (303) 554-9493 ext. 13 Fax (303) 554-9605
Karen Eye

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