Editing Questions in TechAssess
TechAssess is designed for easy editing. The first tab is protected from editing so one doesn’t make inadvertent mistakes. It is not password protected, so it is possible for someone skilled in Excel to remove the protection, if desired, however most editing can be done on the tabs that follow.
The tab marked Form Control is for editing questions and answers. The tab entitled Chart Control provides the controls for the speedometer dials. Be careful with this section. It is fairly complex in the fact that it uses a sensitivity setting and controls the maximum and minimum for the dial needle. There is an option for a bubble chart as well, although it will also require an expert in Excel to employ. Lastly is the license you agreed to by downloading or using the form.
Let’s focus on the Form Control tab. Here you will see that there are columns of questions corresponding to each category on the one-page form from the first tab. Both the questions and answers may be edited to fit your particular needs. For instance, I may wish to change the first question (Q1) under Ownership Issues from “Does use or production require IP owned elsewhere?” to “Is there blocking intellectual property?” To do that, you simply type the new question in the cell replacing the old one. It will show up on the first page. You may wish to adjust the answers as well.
Note that the answers are numbered (#) and sometimes have more numbers than answers. How many answers appear in the pull-down menu on the first tab is changed by right-clicking the pull-down arrow in the answer field (on the first tab) to get the pop-up box called Form Control.
Two changes are necessary. In “Input range” modify the last digit to include or exclude your new set of answers. For instance, I add an answer “New Answer” and increment the last digit from 8 to 9. Then, enter the new number of answers in the box entitled “Drop down lines.” Now, your new answer will appear in the drop down box on the first tab.
Adding or subtracting the total number of questions is harder. I have provided an expert in Excel some help by preparing space on the tab for new questions, but getting them on the first page requires some skill. Unless you are familiar with Excel, I suggest you stay with the same number of questions in each category.
But wait, you say, what about the columns marked “weight” “ans” and “value”? Those are important as well. Each answer is weighted in how it moves the needle, either forward (+) or backward (-) from center. A minus five weighting will move the needle to the left more so than a minus one, for instance. Note that Q5 under Ability to Protect has an answer with a negative one hundred weighting. That simply indicates that however the other answers in that category are chosen, the needle will be pegged to the negative rail. In other words, it is game-over in the ability to protect the innovation.
The category entitled Other doesn’t affect any speed-dials. It is simply there to provide a convenient place for the manager to record important data, like how much has been spent or whether the inventors are cooperative.