TechAssess provides office metrics

TechAssess produces a score resulting from your triage. While the assessment is too subjective to use the score as a hard number to, say, draw a line on what you patent and what you don't, it still has a lot of good uses. It certainly should be one factor leading to the decision to patent or not.

There was a great debate on whether or not a score should be included at all, when TechAssess was created in the late 1990's. Some said it was like giving our faculty inventors a grade and that they would be offended. Others feared it would open a point of contention with our inventors, who would argue every single point to gain a higher score. As a result, the first roll-out of TechAssess didn't have a score.

Soon, however, it seems we needed ways to compare cases so the case manager could use TechAssess to prioritize his or her work. Also, we began thinking of ways to use TechAssess to give the director an understanding of how his team was performing. We decided to give it a try and we included scores. 

As it turned out, none of the previous fears were true. No one challenged the scores. No one tried to game the system. But, what did happen was that we began to get insight into how the office operated.

I took a look at how the scores were spread for our office after we had done a few more than 300 assessments of technologies. This is what our office looked like.

TechAssess scores for 330 inventions compared to a normal distribution

TechAssess scores for 330 inventions compared to a normal distribution


As you can see, it is a normal distribution, skewed to the right; that is, favoring higher scores. I believe there are two factors at work producing this effect. First, technologies that have very little chance for success often don't even get disclosed. Thus, the office never sees most poor quality inventions and there is a natural filtering of the low-end cases. Second, I believe technology licensing managers are mostly optimistic. I referred to my staff as interim entrepreneurs. They owned the techs in their portfolio and looked for every way possible to make them a success. The optimism shows up in higher scores in triage.

I'll show you ways in future posts to take even greater advantage of the scores.

Page Heller