The Idea Incubator Goes to Campus
A recent NY Times article discusses how visionaries, researchers, engineers, and entrepreneurs, are all working together to move technology ‘from the lab to the marketplace’ at a handful of universities in United States.
These universities have established centers that work closely with investors to ensure that promising ideas are nurtured and turned into successful start-ups. At first glance, the centers look like academic versions of business incubators. But universities are getting involved now at a much earlier stage than incubators typically do. Rather than offering seed money to businesses that already have a product and a staff, as incubators usually do, the universities are harvesting great ideas and then trying to find investors and businesspeople interested in developing them further and exploring their commercial viability.
In the jargon of academia, the locations of such matchmaking are known as “proof-of-concept centers,” and they’re among a number of new approaches to commercializing university research in more efficient and purposeful ways — and to preventing good ideas from dying quietly.
The article enumerates successful stories from such centers as the Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation, an M.I.T., the William J. von Liebig Center at University of California, San Diego, the Technology Commercialization Office at University of Utah, the Innovation Works group in Pittsburgh, ets.