Applying multiple perspectives to the design of a commercialization process
Most commercialization models begin by taking an idea through some sort of stage-gate product development process. There is much talk about building market thinking into this process, but this paper argues that much more is required. The research identified three perspectives required to be present at all stages of product development. The first is labelled ‘technical and operational’, the second ‘strategic’ and the third ‘commercial’. The paper argues that each perspective is required at every stage to drive the right activities that lead to successful commercialization. The science, idea and opportunity stage leads onto the technology and feasibility stage, which in turn leads onto the product and market readiness stage. The research applied the grounded theory methodology to categorize and represent data obtained from interviews and desk research. The resulting model was introduced to a New Zealand Crown Research Institute during a consulting assignment in 2004. Three external experts were selected based on their particular perspectives and experience in the area of product development. Each perspective was built into the commercialization process. Applying multiple perspectives has led to a more robust approach to product development and a greater awareness of how multiple tools work together to create a holistic product development process. Each perspective of the commercialization process can be broken down into detailed stages. The technical and operational perspective addresses areas such as opportunity creation, proof of concept and market readiness. The strategic perspective addresses areas such as strategic fit, strategic analysis/choice and pathways to market. Finally, the commercial perspective addresses areas such as opportunity assessment, feasibility study/business planning and launch.After being in place for 18 months, the challenges faced in implementation were discussed with the current commercialization manager and the model was adapted to another institute wishing to develop a design-led commercialization process. A key finding of the research was the common understanding of language and meaning across three distinct disciplines and the involvement of each discipline in the decision-making process. All parties accepted the value of each other's contribution once the different perspectives were understood and accepted. The paper provides useful insights for those involved in the design of commercialization processes and establishes a multi-dimensional framework that assists in facilitating the different perspectives required for successful commercialization.
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