Gearing Up to Talk Symbiotic Innovation at Eastern Region Meeting

By Laura Schoppe posted 05-19-2011 03:31

As you know, the Eastern Region meeting is just around the corner, and I’m looking forward to moderating a few panel discussions at the gathering. One that I will be leading features Symbiotic Innovation (SI) as the topic. Titled “An Alternative to Start-Ups: Collaboration through Symbiotic Innovation,” the panel will include my colleague Nannette Stangle-Castor as well as Kevin Wozniak of the Office of Technology Licensing at Georgia Tech. (Information about the meeting is available online:

So what is SI, exactly? In short, SI is the proactive and concerted operation of spin-out and spin-in, recognizing that these are interdependent activities. (For more information about my company’s concept of SI, visit: and

There is plenty to discuss about SI. For example, SI can be used to form collaborative R&D partnerships that--in some situations--provide a better path to commercialization than the traditional start-up model. Of course, start-ups are vital to commercialization of university technologies. In many cases, start-ups are indeed the best path for taking embryonic innovations and getting them “ready for prime time.”

However, start-ups are not always the best option. In some cases, university technologies need further development, expensive equipment, business and industry expertise, funding, etc. (beyond what can be provided easily and cost-effectively via the start-up model) prior to commercialization. In these cases, collaborative R&D partnerships are an additional, preferable option for getting the technology into the market.

So what’s the connection to SI? Collaborative R&D provides a means to advance technology development, moving it further along the commercialization pathway. At its most basic level, pursuing collaborative R&D is best achieved when you leverage your intellectual property (IP) portfolio in establishing those partnerships. In that sense, the proactive and concerted efforts of spin-in and spin-out that embody SI are at work.

But really, it’s so much more than that. And that’s what this panel will cover. Net will be discussing how to achieve the comprehensive approach to IP management and collaborative R&D partnerships afforded by SI, using some real-world examples as case studies. She’ll also share her Top 10 tips for forming partnerships so that you don’t go chasing every lead—just the best leads.

I also very much look forward to hearing Kevin’s discussion of translational research at Georgia Tech and his team’s holistic approach to working with industry. I think it will prove to be an interesting panel!

So if you’re going to Baltimore for the Eastern Region meeting, stop by Session 3A at 1:30 p.m. on Monday, May 23. We hope to see you there!