The author is completing a methodology to be sold to Universities as part of a Technology Transfer Program.
Most universities have no technology transfer office, and others have a couple of employees who only make a few phone calls and expects for events to happen by themselves. A few ones are leaders in this field and promote actively its achievements by modern digital marketing techniques. We offer to every institution the outsourcing of this valuable service, using the same techniques that these days sell almost anything on the web.
There will be a Consulting Marketplace, with all possible categories to help classify the offers and demands, and to allow efficient matching of problem posers and problem solvers. Both companies looking for solutions and individuals offering services can find each other and become partners.
This project would be a unique approach to the Technology Transfer process, where universities create knowledge that companies convert into profit. This process managed by conventional methods, journals, congresses, dissertations and conferences, is quite inefficient: great ideas or discoveries remain hidden for ages, and companies keep doing things in old fashioned ways for too long. Scientists are notoriously unable to market themselves, and could use help from an online web application that matches problems with problem-solvers.
The Marketplace approach does not cover all the aspects of Technology Transfer. There are cases of inventions or ideas offered by a scientist, consultant or problem solver. Those ideas, proposals or projects, according to the stage of development, usually are in need of a sponsor, investor or adopter.
They are best managed by the Online Project Incubation and Virtual Shares mechanisms, described elsewhere in this ebook, but they also belong to the profile of the service providers. Conversely, a Problem Solution Buyer (usually a company or government dependence) can have a profile page in the Consulting Marketplace, describing the fields of competence and the possible needs for new technologies or ideas. That would help the Problem Solution Sellers to make feasible proposals to the company.
The searchable profile for the service providers can be enhanced by addressing these issues:
- Which problems can I solve?
- What questions can I answer?
- Which categories of industrial activity should seek my services?
- Which keywords describe my assets?
- On what subjects can I write?
- Which projects I can manage
- Which personnel I can help select?
The main features of any marketplace are accounts with profiles, matching, biddings, accounts and transactions. A typical expert could have a profile page, with all his background and abilities. The system would make task adjudication simpler, providing tools for bidders that will help them put a price on their services, and calculate the odds of winning a bid. The history of every bidder in the system will be useful to define their profile and help the clients pick the write expert for the job.
When someone bids for a project usually describes how his abilities could be used to solve the problem, and that description is useful as content for the site, and for personal marketing of the bidder.
Keeping the biddings inside the web system is a definite advantage over email and phone interviews.
The statistics of the site, after a while, would provide very useful market information for science and technology managers and public officers. Payment can be done inside or outside the system.
It is essential that the transactions are completed within the system, first to make sure both parts will pay their fees to the site, and second, to keep a public performance record of every part. There are already places like this, but they are not successful or have critical mass.
Of course, this is a very ambitious project. I would say that there are too many problems in the world to be easily classified. Thus, there are alternative ways to do match problems with solutions, like free text search, keywords, discussion forums or fuzzy searches. A useful way to show one’s expertise is to create an Expert System. But this is another project in this site.
Like other marketplaces, it would be useful to create separate areas for individuals or companies, to establish escrow and arbitrage (dispute resolution) mechanisms, usage stats, content creation systems (wikis, blogs, forums), and other. These can be the keys to success in this e-business.
The author seeks an active role in this project, to help users define profiles, choose keywords, discover talents or opportunities, search partners and bring useful members to the site.