Stage 4: The 4-Cylinder

De-Risk: The 4-Cylinder

The 4-Cylinder phase of the Commercialization Engine transforms early-stage innovations into nascent products attractive enough to entice licensure to outside entities. To achieve this transition, technologies go through one or more of the following derisking steps:

Problem Validation

Technology Validation

Market Validation

Each of these steps is managed by IDEA Center employees who specialize in the tasks to which they belong.

After each of the three steps of the 4-Cylinder phase, each technology will return to the Risk Assessment group (which was discussed in the 2-Stroke phase) which will perform a new risk assessment and define the next most important risk that must be addressed in that technology’s next step.

Problem Validation

The problem validation boot camp is designed so that by the time a technology successfully exits this program, problems in commercial markets that this technology might solve have been validated as real. This means that a sufficient number of potential customers have been identified who are willing to adopt that technology because it solves a need they have.

Technology Validation

If the goal of the Problem Validation program is to ensure that each technology is fixing things that matter, then it is the goal of the Technology Validation group to identify how each technology can do this as effectively as possible.

Upon entering the Technology Validation phase, a technology will be reviewed and its current stage and product development feasibility will be assessed. Milestone tests will be designed to validate key technical assumptions with a view towards a financial development strategy which lays out the potential funding sources for follow-on stages of development. Tests and studies will also be conducted to include the development of prototypes as necessary to address identified risks.

The goal of the Technology Development group is for each technology to achieve commercially relevant technical milestones that demonstrate critical aspects of that technology.

Market Validation

While the Technology Validation group works to advance the technical milestones of a technology and the Problem Validation program validates that that technology is solving real problems, the Market Validation team strives to achieve what is called product-market fit. Product-market fit is established when actual customers within a sufficiently large market react positively enough to that product by purchasing it. Key assumptions such as pricing, the technology’s business model, and product features are also validated in this step.

Business Development

Once a technology’s biggest risks have been successfully addressed, a technology becomes “Commercialization Engine certified” and is ready to be licensed to an outside group.

To achieve this, the technology is sent to the Business Development team. In this final step of the 4-Cylinder, a technology is licensed to an existing business or turned into an entirely new business.

Licensing marks a technology’s graduation out of the 4-Cylinder and into the V8 phase of the Engine.