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
We start on this pessimistic but realistic note because there is no denying that it is 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. It is hard to define, achieve and to measure. It is worth spending a bit of time defining the job, why it is so difficult and what makes it such.
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 define the respective roles of you (the business developer) and the academic team you are 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 Formulating a value proposition
It is natural for us to get excited about new and promising technologies, especially when backed by enthusiastic researchers. This is fine but as business developers we need to inject caution. Every technology needs investment and no business will invest without seeing profit or some other return. There needs to be a ‘value proposition’.
In this session we examine some seemingly promising technologies and think through the value propositions.
12:45 - 13:45 Lunch
13:45 - 15:00 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 is a fact of life.
We use a semi-fictional case study to diagnose the reasons for this resistance and develop strategies for overcoming them.
15:00 - 15:30 Coffee Break
15:30 - 16:30 Knowing the right people to ‘market’ to
Having figured out the action plan, we now 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
We asked each of you to bring a ‘problem’ or ‘opportunity’ case-study to discuss in this session. Each participant shall briefly presents their case to the others in the group and thereafter the group shall chose which one to present on day 3.
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 towards those to whom we want to speak.
In this session, we learn from a social media expert on how to use the huge diversity of tools available and understand 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 Managing academics and KT colleagues
Business Development Managers (BDM) 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 Business Development Manager has generated new business but the relationship has become mired in internal politics. We unravel what has gone wrong and what the BDM should have done differently.
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 solve 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 tomorrow morning.
09:00 - 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 - 12:30 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 over a number of years into a major alliance. We shall examine the things they did properly, as well as the things that could have derailed the relationship.
12:30 - 13:30 Lunch
Venue - Calipolis Hotel Sitges
Av. Sofia, 2, Sitges 08870, Spain
Room Rates at Calipolis Hotel
Single occupancy : €130.00 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 ASTP2024