Suggested Course outline – VTT Course outline – DRAFT Day 1. 9:00 – 9:45 Setting objectives – Aligning objectives and defining a common purpose. In this session we explore motivations for working with businesses – and discuss whether and why it matters to be clear about these reasons up front. Differences of opinion often emerge between different areas of the university and this ambiguity can result in mixed messages and confusion. The discussion is centred around a short case study in which a Vice-‐Chancellor calls into question the value that he’s getting from his investment in business development. It serves as an ice-‐breaker as well as addressing an important, undermining issue. 9:45 – 10:30 What cards do we hold – why do business value working with us? Businesses find it useful to work with us – but we don’t always realise why. Unless we do then it’s difficult to formulate a ‘value proposition’ (why they might want to work with us) or to assess the value of what we bring to the table (our negotiation power). A Patent is an obvious answer but usually not the right one – especially when businesses want us more for what we can do (expertise) than for what we have done (technology). In this session we delve into four cases to explore why businesses (should) value us. 10:30 – 11:00 -‐ Coffee 11:00 – 12:30 Business Models: Developing a ‘Plan A’ commercial strategy Great technology and underlying expertise is pre-‐requisite to a successful relationship – no one wants to work with amateurs! However, when hoping to ‘sell’ to business it’s only one part of the story – you need a good commercial strategy (or if thinking about the opportunity a new venture, a good business model hypothesis). Very rarely is the ‘plan A’ business model right – but this isn’t an excuse for going ahead aimlessly. In this session we set out the components of a business model and explore why it is useful to have one – even if it usually proves to be wrong. 12:30 – 13:30 -‐ Lunch
13:30 – 14:15 Why investors (financial and corporate) don’t invest – and how to change their minds. We tend to believe that our technology is wonderful and that businesses are acting myopically when they don’t agree with us – and are reluctant to invest. Sometimes we are right, sometimes they are right. More often than we like to admit, they are right and even when they are wrong we should understand why so that we can develop strategies for persuading them otherwise. In this session we try and ‘think like an investor’ and with the help of two frameworks both explore why investors are cautious and what we might do about it. 14:15 – 15:30 Foreground Intellectual Property : who should it belong to? The ownership of IP arising from a research collaboration is the usual sticking point in any negotiation. In part because no one quite knows what IP may be generated (absolute ownership thus being the safest position) but it is also because IP has value and so is worth owning (and thus goes to the party who holds the most power). In this session we try and examine IP from first principles, assessing the rights that each party needs and (from the university’s perspective) the arrangement that results in the greatest innovation. We draw heavily on the learnings of the UK’s Lambert Agreements. 15:30 – 16:00 -‐ tea 16:00 – 17:00 An industry perspective: the pleasures and frustrations of working with us. In this session we invite [two – four] representatives from businesses who regularly do business with universities and research laboratories. We explore with them some of the issues that we’ve discussed during the day – what motivates them to work with us, why they are sometimes reluctant to work with us, what excites them and the vexed issue on intellectual property. We hope for a candid and constructive discussion – the starting point being that there are no villains! 17:00 Close of Day 1
Day 2 9:00 – 10:30 Approaching Industry: initiating the first joint project. How should we approach business? It’s clearly easy if we have an established close relationship but most of the time we do not and it’s difficult to know where to start. The default is a presentation or ‘technology-‐brief’ but this is rarely effective. In this session we explore a powerful methodology for exploring new opportunities with businesses – one that treats the ‘opportunity’ as a hypothesis to be tested and that sets its sights on reaching a ‘deal’ before leaving the room if that hypothesis is right. The methodology defines the preparation and thinking that the ‘sales-‐person’ should do before meeting the prospect and underlines the importance of thinking from the customer’s perpective’. 10:30 – 11:00: Coffee 11:00 – 12:30 The role of the Business development Manager: the case of Jerry Sanders In this session we explore the role of the Business Development Manager – and ask how much we should be involved in driving a project towards commercialisation. We use a rather extreme case as an illustration – a person (Jerry Sanders) who quite ruthlessly (but effectively) drives a new opportunity forward. He achieves great things, but many suspect that he leaves a trail of destruction behind him. Others admire and wish to emulate him. 12:30 – 13:30: Lunch 13:30 – 15:30: Sticky issues: turning a deal into an agreement. Business development managers not only generate new business but play a valuable role in ‘codifying’ agreements – that is, taking a vague list of ‘wishes’ and desired outcomes and turning them into a set of agreements. Clearly the Agreements themselves are written by lawyers but the Business Development Manager can add huge value if the know the ‘process’ and are aware of the issues that normally cause the most trouble downstream. This case lays bare both process and issues.
15:30 – 16:00: Tea 16:00 – 17:00 Dirty Little Tricks in Licensing In this final session we look at some of the most common negotiation tactics that are used to weaken our resolve and grind us into submission. There are many of them – but the good news is that once you are aware of them then you can protect yourself, find ways to decrease vulnerability and even use them to your advantage. At the very least they help you to laugh at yourself. This is a light-‐hearted presentation but nevertheless caries some important messages, especially to those who are un-‐used to game-‐playing. 17:00 End ………………………………………………………………..