Disruptive Technology

Q. I have a disruptive technology that has been demonstrated to be feasible but not productized. There are many possible applications of it. How should I proceed to market it culminating in the sale or license of Intellectual Property? My company is too small to manufacture the product.


You don’t say if you have a sales department or if you have sold or licensed “not yet productized technologies” in the past. I am going to proceed as if you do not have an internal sales force, and that you also have not sold or licensed technology previously. On that basis, let's look at several key factors:

The technology: How does your product line up with buyer's current or future needs? What are the barriers to entry into the each different market? Which markets would be easier to enter?

The buyer: What types of companies typically need to license technologies? Where would buyers usually go to find something like this? If I waved a magic wand and the technology were sold today, what would the buyer look like?

Your resources: What resources do you typically use when you face challenges? When your company doesn’t have the internal manpower to do something, how do you handle it?

Your future: What will happen if you cannot find a buyer? How motivated are you to solve this dilemma? How committed are you to making this happen?

Many small businesses lack some part of the necessary talent pool to compete in the marketplace; that’s why accounting, payroll, and virtual assistant service companies thrive. I suspect you might have some luck outsourcing your sales if you have neither the need nor desire to have a full time sales staff. A quick search on sales outsourcing would be a good place to start. Speaking more generally, it's best to invent products where needs are known to exist. Inventing and then looking for customers with a need is operating backwards, although it doesn’t mean it’s impossible to find a buyer, it’s simply means it’s going to be a lot harder. A couple last things to consider while you formulate the best course of action: If you were to look at the end objective and work back to fill in the details of each step to get you there, what would it look like? If you could find the perfect company to buy this technology, what would it be worth to you? And finally, what are you losing by not getting on that today?

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