This course develops frameworks and tools that can be widely used to develop new research and licensing collaborations and structure those relationships in a way that benefits and aligns the motivation of both parties.
Why Join this course?
This course is designed for those whose job involves finding and ‘warming up’ potential research partners and licensees; the human elements of negotiating a deal. It largely focuses on the part of the ‘process’ where, having identified a promising technology or research strength, it is time to find external partners willing to commit resources to take it to market and structure that deal.
- An understanding the scope of the Business Development role
- How our role interfaces with the academic role and with other KT roles
- Using the value chain to identify potential partners
- The ideal characteristics of a potential innovation partner – ‘absorptive capacity’
- Tactics for identifying potential leads using the internet
- Using Social Media to identify thought leaders and active innovators
- The power of forums to link with potential partners
- Course Introduction - the impossible role of a business developer
- Developing a strategy
- The role of the Business Developer
- Knowing the right people to ‘market’ to
- Using social media tools to find partners and investors
- Productive conversations with potential partners
- Sales tactics.
- Keeping the deal on track: managing the relationship
- Corporate resistance to innovation
- Lining up internal stakeholders (when you have limited authority over them)
- Capturing the essence of an agreement
- What businesses want from Business Development Managers
- Building Strategic Partnerships
- Overcoming barriers, internal and external
09:00 - 09:45 Course Introduction - the impossible role of a business developer
Following the introductory session, prior to the course, we start on this pessimistic but realistic note because there’s no denying that it’s what many of us feel. Those charged with developing new relationships and ‘deals’ have the hardest and most thankless (but perhaps the most satisfying) of all KT roles – hard to define, achieve and to measure. It’s worth spending a bit of time defining the job, why it’s so difficult and what makes it so.
09:45 - 10:30 Developing a strategy
We jump straight into the course by presenting you with a ‘real’ case for discussion - a wonderful business development opportunity from a university somewhere in Europe! We ask you to suggest a strategy for the commercial development of the technology and to say what the respective roles of you (the business developer) and the academic team that you’re advising. In doing so we hope to tease out what the role entails and some of the inherent ambiguities and complexities.
10:30 - 10:45 Coffee Break
10:45 - 11:45 The role of the Business Developer
We reflect on the case study to think about the first steps in ‘formatting’ an opportunity to a point where the business developer can start being useful. The trick is to zero in on a potential user so that you can begin to explore the market and industry.
11:45 - 12:45 What academics want from us
We have two ‘customers’. First, the downstream external organisation/business that invests and ultimately takes a technology to market. Second, the upstream academic who owns the expertise and technology – and needs our help to find and warm up enthusiastic partners.
In this session we have the opportunity to quiz a particularly engaged academic who is in the middle of commercialising her technology and has reflected on the support that it would have been wonderful to have at the outset of her project.
12:45 - 13:45 Lunch
13:45 - 15:00 Managing academics and KT colleagues...
Business Development Managers have the responsibility to create new relationships but limited authority to negotiate and agree the final terms. This can result in internal friction and frustration. We see evidence of this in the final case presentations where over half of the ‘problems’ reported are generally internal. Here we study one extremely problematic case where the BDM has generated new business but the relationship has become mired in internal politics. We disentangle what has gone wrong and what the BDM should have done differently.
15:00 - 15:30 Coffee Break
15:30 - 16:30 Knowing the right people to 'market' to
Having figured out the action plan we need to ‘get the hell out of the building’ and start contacting and influencing potential partners and opinion leaders – the people who may be part of our network and value chain. This is ‘market research’ but it is also ‘marketing’. In this session, we use examples to explore what is involved and the techniques we can use to identify the right companies and people, how to contact them and how to build their interest.
16:30 - 18:00 Briefing for case study discussions – followed by break-out to individual discuss cases
We asked each of you to bring a ‘problem’ or ‘opportunity’ case study to discuss – in this session each briefly presents their case to the others in the group – & choose on which you will present on Day 3.
19:30 - 22:00 Networking Dinner
09:00 - 10:30 Using social media tools to find partners and investors
The most difficult aspect of knowledge transfer is finding potential partners, users, champions, and investors for our new technologies – both companies and the right individuals within them. Used properly, social media tools can both pinpoint and provide warm leads to those to whom we want to speak. In this session we learn – from a social media expert – how to use the huge diversity of tools out there, when and how to use them effectively.
10:30 - 11:00 Coffee Break
11:00 - 12:30 Productive conversations with potential partners
Many of us (and many academics) find it hard to ‘sell’ to potential partners. We like to talk and present - often far too much - about the technology but lack strategies for advancing the dialogue towards an initial ‘deal’ of some kind. Successful (sales) meetings should not be pitches or presentations. Rather, they should be structured conversations in which we test out value propositions and – only if there is real value for the other party – find some way of developing the relationship by finding some small way to collaborate. In this session, we learn and practice a useful tool (methodology) for structuring such conversations that - if used well – should result in ‘deals’.
12:30 - 13:30 Lunch
13:30 - 14:45 Corporate resistance to Innovation
Businesses can take a frustratingly long time to invest in a new innovation. This is true even when there is enthusiasm from your initial contacts. This ‘slowness’ can seem irrational and is often frustrating – but it’s a fact of life. We use a semi-fictional case study to diagnose the reasons for this resistance and develop strategies for overcoming them.
14:45 - 15:15 Coffee Break
15:15 - 16:45 Capturing the essence of an agreement
Once a verbal agreement has been reached the final terms need to be written down and turned into a legal agreement, you may not write that agreement but it is your responsibility to make sure that the terms are clear and workable? In this session, we attempt to disentangle an agreement negotiated by an academic, turning a vague ‘wish list’ into a clear memorandum of understanding.
16:45 - 18:15 Case study discussion continued
You are asked to discuss the case study that you selected yesterday evening – preparing a brief 5-minute presentation, outlining the opportunity, the problem and the team’s suggestions for moving forward with it. Agree on your approach and nominate one member of the team (not the person whose case it is) to present after coffee on Friday).
08:45 - 10:30 Overcoming barriers, internal and external
We devote this session to discussing your own cases – ones where you have identified a real opportunity or impasse to which you can apply some of the learnings and strategies covered in the course. Some will be internal issues blocking the commercialisation, others, will be issues of finding a partner or structuring the right deal with a potential partner.
10:30 - 11:00 Coffee Break
11:00 - 12:15 Building Strategic Partnerships
All universities want to build longer-term relationships with businesses (strategic account management) to move beyond negotiating a series of smaller projects into something altogether more ‘strategic’ and broader. This could involve a major investment in research infrastructure based on trust and mutual understanding or a framework agreement. In this reflective exercise, we ask how one university grew a single studentship into a major alliance over a number of years, examining the things they did properly, as well as the things that could have derailed the relationship.
12:15 - 13:00 What businesses want from us as Business Development Managers
We welcome a number of our opposite numbers - those in businesses who are involved in building relationships and concluding deals with universities. We encourage them to tell us what they find frustrating and how we can be better partners.
13:00 - 14:00 Lunch
Venue - Calipolis Hotel Sitges
Av. Sofia, 2, Sitges 08870, Spain
Room Rates at Calipolis Hotel
Single occupancy : €124.00 per night inclusive of breakfast
Double occupancy : €144.00 per night inclusive of breakfast
- Local Tourist Tax 1,32€ per person/day not included
- Participants should make their booking through hotel website with the promotion code ASTP2023
The Calipolis hotel guarantees that all relevant activities and health and safety precautions are agreed and carried out by all the people involved in the event, and that it is in accordance with the references requested by the Spanish and Catalan health authorities.
Visas, vaccinations, tests and travel documentation: All event participants are responsible for verifying and implementing all health, safety and COVID-19 requirements that are applicable to participate in the event.