Bridging the Valley of Death: Lessons Learned from 14 Years of Commercialization of Technology Education

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BRIDGING THE VALLEY OF DEATH: LESSONS LEARNED FROM 14 YEARS OF COMMERCIALIZATION OF TECHNOLOGY EDUCATION

ABSTRACT
We argue for the increasing importance of providing graduate students skills in technology entrepreneurship and the commercialization of technology. We describe the lessons we have learned from fourteen years of developing commercialization of technology pedagogy and adapting it for use on four continents and within numerous corporations. We demonstrate that the straightforward theory-driven approach that we use to shape the curriculum improves our ability to learn from our mistakes and to structure small experiments to improve the pedagogy.
INTRODUCTION

Interest in the commercialization of technology and high technology entrepreneurship has increased significantly in the past decade. It is apparent that in many increasingly knowledge-based economies, effective managers will need to be better trained in dealing with technologists and in creating business growth and advantage through commercializing technology. Technical education faces new demands as well. For example, the National Academy of Sciences (COSEPP, 1995) issued a committee statement calling for rethinking graduate education for scientists and engineers to include the skills to promote the commercialization of technologies that they create.
As interest in commercialization of technology has increased, so has academic research interest in this area. For example, the Journal of Product Innovation Management recently published a 2 issue special topic volume on technology commercialization and entrepreneurship. Topics included a meta analysis of success factors in new venture creation (Song, Podoynitsyna, van der Bij & Halman, 2008), effects of uncertainty in new ventures (Loch, Solt & Bailey, 2008), evaluation of academic and corporate technology development processes (Golish,…...

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