The sweet spot of commercialization

In today’s hypercompetitive environment, research products commercialization are too important to be left to chance. The opportunity cost are too great to risk for research and development that is not demand-driven, cost effective and unfit for commercialization as advised by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research.

Prof J reiterated the call for a comprehensive and cohesive strategy that outline the process of producing and commercializing products while Prof K. contextualized commercialization to transferring findings into solution to a particular problem.

The deputy Director-General of CSIR, Prof Paul Bosu launched special campaign dubbed ‘CSIR Chairman’s Trophy” for achievement and recognition in commercialization this year and touted the award as motivational.

Prof. Robert Kingsford Adaboh praised Building and Road Research institute, Oil Palm research institute and Crops research institute as winners for 2018/2019. He also remarked that money was the blood for institutes.

Commercialization seeks to bridge the gap between Science and technology and entrepreneurship. This is amplified in the vision of CSIR as a means to creating wealth for the society. W. Brian Arthur described a technology as a means to fulfil human purpose. Indeed, the pervasiveness of technology and adhering to the ethics of technology impact the quality of socio economic development of a nation. Commercializing a research technology from resource perspective according to Paul Baidoo and Ekow Wellington Afful (2018) has more than one value for humans: The biological value which is dependent on the quantity of plant and animal manifest in yields and also in nutritive level. This, however has a cultural concept because biological value of a plant may vary from place to place. The economic value of a technology resource has a far-reaching effect on revenue generation. The economic value is largely linked to the demand and by extension the commercial value of the technology resource. The ecological value of some of the technology resources could be mirrored by its contribution on a specific ecosystem. Equally important, is the scientific value of a technology resource which may be borne out from the rarity of a specific species or its value for scientific experiment. Culturally, technology resource is also used to change or shape a culture. It could also be transferred in aesthetic form to portray power of a class.

In pioneering commercialization of research products, we need to overcome the challenges of what needs to be done first in the race of excellence. According to Peter E. Drucker (2004) the first thing that deserves high premium in effective management is getting knowledge on the commercialization process. The researcher is blessed with the technical, scientific and the project management skill. An added knowledge that could aid the process is the entrepreneurial skill plus leadership. Prof J also expressed concern over mastering different aspect of management skills and management of research and development. On the other hand, Prof F. Believed these skills could be informal discussion with the close friends and colleagues. Another key to an effective commercialization is generating ideas from the market pulse. Norain, Mohd and Safiah (2015) expressed the needs to scan the environment to identify problems, application and demand in the market, target market segment and areas of potential growth, ecosystem of the industry, the position of the products and the potential users of the products. We are also cautioned to differentiate between the best inventions from the best product in the market. Another sweet spot of commercialization depends on the path of commercialization. The stage wise process depends on the type of research product and the goals of researcher. Safiah et al, gave these option as research product commercialization: contractual agreement, licensing, assignment, joint venture, and spin off companies, hybrid method and partnership. A responsive commercialization of research product is also influenced by its development, packaging and promotion. It is important that expectations and demands are met with consideration on building competitive advantage. A researcher will also need to decide on business partner with well-defined right and responsibilities, establishing trust and respect, be open minded and transparent, being flexible, emphatic and understanding. Above all, the role of institutes in providing facilities and support must be enhanced for improved facilities, training and management.

In crossing the hurdles of commercialization, Boachie and Mensah (2012) suggested that products for commercialization must be unique and not an imitation of products already on the market. If the technology does not offer the consumers a relative advantage, commercializing the product will fail. In a related development, there is the need for planning for commercialization. In fact Prof J suggested that once you have an idea to produce for Research and development, you design the process of going there. He further stressed that you do the research for its sake but you fulfill the trends of demand: the demand of writing a final report, publish a paper or go for intellectual property. Besides a good plan, other variables must be well considered. According to David, Pugh, and Terry (2005), managing an opportunity like commercialization of technology is considered as a means to condition the client. In conditioning the market, issues of market analysis, resource allocation, strategic planning, account planning and branding are equally important to the success of conditioning the deal. Boachie and Mensah stated a product itself or the timing of commercialization as critical to the success of commercialization.

In living an extension of the vision of technology transfer from the perspective of CSIR Ghana, crops production technologies for oil palm, coconut, compost production, reclamation of degraded land, soil fertility, plant breeding, improvement in maize, cassava, yam, potatoes, sorghum and vegetables are the demand driven offers to serve the society.

Other unlocking opportunities which are improving livelihood include snail farming technology, beekeeping, mushroom, fish technology, poultry, piggery and grass cutter technologies. In the areas of food processing and technical service, off grid solar PV technology, cosmetics and soap production, biogas and bio fill technology, robotics and apps development and technologies in engineering, construction and management provide limitless opportunities for an accelerated socio economic advancement.

Technology today is a full blown industry and its commercialization generate a race for technology leadership in many fields because of its economic value. In an evening with the CEO of MTN organized by CIMG on evolution of Telecoms, the Digital convergence and what it meant for the future of Ghana, Mr. Selorm Adadevoh remarked that technology should not be for the sake of itself but must meet market need.

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