Proof of commercial concept: fresh ideas for smarter economies

This year, the TII conference was themed around ‘Sustainability: Innovation services for a smarter economy’, and featured an opening session hosted by Proton Europe, the European Knowledge Transfer Association, in which Peter explored European perspectives on Proof of Concept, as a key methodology and tool for selecting and developing the most promising commercial opportunities coming out of invention and research.

“Proving a Commercial Concept involves finding the right market(s) and validating the intellectual property’s (IP’s) value proposition. It will also provide a good indication of the level of skill, money and resources needed to achieve success,” he said, adding that Proof of Commercial Concept should also demonstrate whether a concept is scalable, and make recommendations for the best business models, sales, and marketing to be deployed.

Delegates heard how YTKO Group’s proof of concept team encourages and supports inventors and researchers, from small-to-medium sized enterprise (SME), universities and research establishments, to think from a market-facing perspective at the earliest stage. YTKO Group, explained Peter White, had succeeded in the PoC marketplace for its fresh and comprehensive approach to working in partnership with its clients.  “Prototyping the concept creates the opportunity to develop potential application values; to steer further technical development and to identify viable commercial opportunities.”

This validation, he advised, is necessarily achieved in conjunction with a large cohort of specialists: “The scrutiny of high-level industry experts and mentors, together with the market verification that comes from engaging with potential customers and commercial partners, ensures that further investment and funding requirements can be pitched – and secured – with confidence.”

Over the past seven years, YTKO Group has delivered more than 100 separate proof of concept projects, forming more than 20 new companies and raising £9 million in research and commercial funding, in sectors ranging from pharmaceuticals to training and from precision timing to renewable energy.

Also on the panel were: Dr. Michel Morant, Interface Université de Liège, Belgium; Dr. Thomas Kröner, Head of the Licensing Group, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany; and Rémi Charrier, Head of Product Development, European Investment Fund, Luxembourg.

Technology Innovation International (TII) is Europe’s premier association of technology transfer and innovation support professionals. The 2012 annual conference was held in collaboration with ProTon Europe, the European Knowledge Transfer Association and hosted by Aalborg University.