Title: Overcoming Barriers with Carriers
Author: Philip E. Auerswald
Publication: Assistive Technology Transfer Update: Vol. 5 (Spring) Annual Report, 2001-2002
The transformation from invention to innovation contains numerous barriers
and the challenge is to create carriers that overcome them. These barriers
embody the "risk" associated
with new ventures because they cause projects to fail. Dr. Philip Auerswald
of Harvard University,
describes some of these barriers and how to manage
the associated risk by
Communication barriers arise from the cultural context in which information
is stored and retrieved. A carrier is converging on language shared between
cultures (e.g., technical specifications).
Expertise barriers are asymmetries in
and experience held by partners, so partners
must ensure the recipient organization has the
technical competence to implement, produce
and then support the transferred technology within
a new product.
Time barriers include disparities
in time required to accomplish actions (e.g., securing internal approval),
in labs or universities versus small companies. Carriers include planning
a shared timeline, and securing management support for
Financial barriers are constraints on resources allocated to the project.
Carriers are performing due diligence on the project plan to ensure
that resource estimates are accurate and sufficient.
Due diligence barriers are shortcuts taken and assumptions made to curtail
costs when maximizing the number of projects initiated. The carrier is a
broker willing to underwrite the cost and/or
thorough analysis, to validate the project's opportunities
and constraints. Opportunity
barriers are decisions to proceed with some
projects that preclude proceeding with
other projects. The carrier is validated information shared
with all decision makers.
Return on investment barriers arise from inequities
between participants in the risk/return ratio. To entice companies into
higher risk ventures,
producers may have to offer them a
higher share of future returns.
Capabilities barriers result from limitations
in access to the entire value chain or in market readiness for the features/functions
of the new product.
A thorough business plan addresses the value chain requirements
for production, function,
quality, price, service, training, distribution
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