Deep Dive into TechAssess

TechAssess was built by committee. It grew out of many heated meetings between life science and physical science case managers who each wanted a tool to help them prioritize their work more efficiently. The foremost rule was that whatever we ended up with must fit on one sheet of paper. This was all that the administration would look at. 

Prior to TechAssess, my office used to send five or six page reports on the commercialization potential of each case. They were never read. Our administration was far too busy. They had to have something they could glance at and know the disposition of a technology. That's what we gave them in TechAssess.

TechAssess is a list of questions; highly debated questions. We chose those questions we felt were the best indicators of our ability to license a technology. They are different for life science and physical science. They don't include everything that could possibly impact the ability to license. Other institutions have attempted that only to end up with lists of hundreds of questions. But, by selecting the 26 or so MOST important questions, we were able to build a tool that gave us a good indication of success...and one that fit on one page.

The chosen questions fit into five categories;

  • Ownership Issues
  • Stage of Development
  • Ability to Protect
  • Relationship Maintenance
  • The Market

Each category is summarized with a speed dial at the top of the form. This allows a Director or an administrator to glance at the form and instantly know what the manager considers to be strengths and weaknesses. This is very good for opening discussion on what makes a good invention.

As mentioned in previous blogs, there is also a score, but from years and years of practice in using this tool, I have found that few people speak of the score. Most, instead, focus on the speed dials. A needle that is straight up is neutral. To the left (red) indicates a negative influence and to the right (green), a positive influence.

For anyone who might want a better understanding, a conclusion box just below the speed dials gives the reasons why those dials are positive, neutral or negative.

My next post will talk more about how those dials are formulated.

 Example TechAssess tool

Example TechAssess tool

Page Heller