Real Passion, Real business
Chasm of Mistrust
Commericalisation Pure or Applied?
How to inspire commercialisation in research scientists?
This is not a rhetorical question – it is a real problem that I don't have the answer to.
How to get people from the pure science elements of education to engage meaningfully with commercialisation either as academics or for a non-academic career choice.
Education across Europe defines people very early as scientists and encourages focus on the discipline, sometimes preventing access to other subjects which encourage entrepreneurship. Combinations such as Economics and Chemistry are rarely offered as Joint Honours – particularly in the UK.
So how do we enable our scientists to truly explore their ability and affinity for business? Not just in understanding the financial aspects of funding or running a business, but to explore their natural ability to communicate, their aptitude for sales, for marketing, for creative thinking and new product design?
Too many scientists think that sales are unimportant, and lack ethics; that marketing is all baloney and unnecessary but the reality is without sales there is no company or money making opportunity - even to fund their further research.
Business games such as Young Entrepreneur Scheme are great vehicles to allow academic engagement with commercialisation, but overall only a low percentage of students take this opportunity, often because they don't understand or appreciate the benefits of the interaction with others from different institutions or even just how a change of scene and time out of the lab can open your mind to new ideas.
Sometimes academic supervisors or teachers in high schools themselves don't appreciate the benefits of these types of event for widening self-knowledge and “putting people in touch with their non-technical skills” and can't support and encourage, or demand, participation from their pupils.
So how do we do it? How across Europe in particular, do we manage to bridge the gap between science and sales and get more people to realise that sales and marketing careers exist, are enjoyable and allow them to use their science to the benefit of themselves and their companies.
It is a fact that the companies need them – 80% of small companies fail because of lack of sales not because their technology didn't work.