The Commercialization Engine
The Commercialization Engine is a value-adding process through which all University of Notre Dame inventions pass after disclosure to the IDEA Center. Its goal is to take early-stage technologies through a process of de-risking and transform them into life-changing and productive applications. This is accomplished by thoroughly understanding inventions, finding their value, determining their market fit, acting on feedback from potential customers, protecting IP, creating a strong business model, identifying milestones, and executing an acceleration plan.
On a macro level, the Commercialization Engine was created to address the challenge of answering critical commercialization questions about invention disclosures such as, “what is the new idea?”, “what is the opportunity for this new technology?” and “what will it take to effectively address this opportunity in the market?”
The IDEA Center has incorporated many of the latest entrepreneurial ideas and texts from thought leaders around the world into the Commercialization Engine and molded them to work in a university setting.
The Commercialization Engine is split into three stages to focus efforts on milestones that help de-risk, vet, and develop University technologies. These stages are named after different engine sizes: 1) the 2-stroke, 2) 4-cylinder, and 3) the V8. Each engine size represents the level of resources, development, and understanding of the market opportunity for the technology and the stage of that technology’s business model. Each of the three stages has specific deliverables and objectives that must be met in order for a technology to move on to the next stage.
Although the Commercialization Engine has a structured framework, it is also flexible. A technology can enter and exit the Commercialization Engine at any time depending on the stage, external interest and licensing activities. The goal of the Commercialization Engine is to have a team and a plan in place ready to raise the first round of professional investment for a new startup or for the technology to be licensed to an established company.