TechAssess is a free excel-based technology assessment tool. There have been a large number of universities (more than one hundred) requesting the tool recently, which is available for life science technologies and for physical science technologies. I'd like let you know my experience with the tool. I've personally used it at three universities over my career. I would guess I've assessed more than 500 technologies personally with it. I'll be telling you how I have used it over a number of blog posts so it’s not so overwhelming. Here, I would like to begin by saying the foremost advantage I have seen from using TechAssess is the transparency it gives to the process of technology commercialization. My inventors appreciate seeing what criteria I use to weigh my decisions. It provides them with nearly immediate feedback, which they also appreciate. It also provides the perfect venue for teaching inventors what a good disclosure of invention looks like...without preaching. I know some universities don't share it with their inventors, because, I am told, they don't want to engage in a potential argument. However, over all I have done and shared, I would say only a dozen inventors have argued and most of them actually corrected some misunderstanding I had regarding the technology. So, I would encourage sharing it so it brings light to the process.
It also provides transparency to the administration. I can't tell you how many times I have heard from my colleagues that their administration doesn't understand technology commercialization and doesn't have a clue what they do. Well, here's a chance to remedy that. I provided copies of these forms to my administration each time I sent one to an inventor. I also sent one to the department heads. The response was great. They liked having a one-page snap shot of the strengths and weaknesses of each technology. They told me they didn't have time to read a report on each technology, but one page was enough to tell them what they wanted to know. Suddenly, they felt like they had some control on the commercialization work; some input. Now, they had a feel for their own portfolio of cases and what the professors were doing. In all the time I used them, I never received a complaint.
Sooooo, what exactly IS this TechAssess tool we're talking about? Well, in the next few blog posts, let's delve into it a little deeper. Here, suffice to say, it is a one-page triage report of the licensing viability of a technology. It is usually completed by a tech-savvy and business-savvy manager working for a university within the first few weeks of receiving a disclosure of invention. It has worked well for me and now I want to share it with you.