Transfer Technology Ideas to Market: Applications for Edupreneurs

Ed Harris


In a previous article, we mentioned that an important aspect of entrepreneurism is transferring technology ideas to the marketplace. In this article, we will explain the notion of technology transfer as well a complementary concept, “disruptive innovations.”

Technology Transfer

Technology transfer is a popular phrase in business and science communities. The notion of technology is not limited to computer technology; rather, it is a broad term that includes products, skills, services, ideas, discoveries, and more. In simple terms, technology transfer is the movement of these services, ideas, and innovations to the general public. For businesses, technology transfer can occur through the movement of products, goods, and services to consumers. For educators, it can occur through, publications, graduates entering the workplace, exchanges at professional meetings, and relationships with industry. As mentioned previously, for educators, our “market” is our “constituents” and includes students, communities, and society as a whole.

We have previously mentioned Odyssey Learning Academy as an example of technology transfer. Specifically, we addressed Odyssey’s open-school idea where students take classes in local business and are taught by and learn alongside local professionals. This partnership not only “moves” the students to the community, but also the exchange of services and relationships built are an important part of the technology transfer process.

A “small” example of Odyssey’s technology transfer in action is their recent tiny house project. Building on their student-centered philosophy, parents and staff at Odyssey supported students’ interest in building by partnering with local builders, tradesmen, and public workshops to build a tiny home. The finished home will be toured around Oklahoma City for publicity of the school and will eventually be auctioned with all proceeds benefitting Odyssey Leadership Academy. This venture has not only provided the students of Odyssey with a real-life learning experience, but has built relationships for Odyssey that will outlast one project.

Technology can add value, simplification, diversification, and productivity to consumers and constituents. However, technology’s value wanes unless it can be transferred to a user who can apply the technology to create a tangible benefit. In both the business and educational world, markets are sometimes disrupted when new technologies and innovations become more valued than the old ones.

Disruptive Innovations

A disruptive innovation is a technology that creates a new market and value network and eventually disrupts an existing market and value network, displacing established market leading firms, products and alliances. Disruptive innovation is actually a process by which a product or service takes root initially in simple applications at the bottom of a market and then relentlessly moves up market, eventually displacing established competitors. Table 1 offers some examples of disruptive innovations.

Using Odyssey’s tiny home project as an example, the real-life learning experience of students building an entire house from the foundation to the roof with experts in the field may be the first step in disrupting the traditional math lessons of lecture and pencil/paper problem solving. What are some examples of “technology transfers” in your school? Are disruptive innovations “good” or “bad?”Using Odyssey’s tiny home project as an example, the real-life learning experience of students building an entire house from the foundation to the roof with experts in the field may be the first step in disrupting the traditional math lessons of lecture and pencil/paper problem solving. What are some examples of “technology transfers” in your school? Are disruptive innovations “good” or “bad?”

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