What is Commercialisaton?

Wikipedia Definition: Commercialization is the process or cycle of introducing a new product or production method into the market.

Invention Pathways [1] states that “There are 12 Steps in the Commercialisation journey. Within these steps there are approximately 140+ tasks…” BlueChilli [2] states that there are exactly 156 critical steps to success. Do some quick research and you will find a lot more material of a similar ilk published about the steps to commercialise a product or service [3].

WhatIsCommercialisation HalfThis article gives you a summary of the major events on the long pathway to commercialisation. The whole process may well take more than two years even though some steps can be done in parallel with others.

  1. Pre-Disclosure. The inventor or innovator writes down the salient points of their invention or innovation in a document for review.
  2. Assessment. The document is reviewed by advisory boards under Non-disclosure agreements (NDAs[4]) to establish the possible commercial feasibility and possible scope of interest.
  3. Provisional Patent. A provisional patent is written and filed to protect the Intellectual Property (IP) with the help of a patent attorney. Jurisdictions for the patent are discussed (e.g. Australia, EU, USA, Asia, etc.) and evaluated.
  4. Marketing. Now that the Intellectual Property of the innovation has been protected, a marketing exercise is undertaken to discover how valuable the IP is. Companies and experts within the sector are contacted so that the team can understand the market and value of the invention or innovation.
  5. Business Strategy. Having researched the market a decision is made regarding which strategy to use to commercialise the innovation – broadly one of three choices: Assign, License or Build. Assignment involves outright selling of all rights to another organisation. License involves selling specific rights to the innovation (e.g. by vertical market, territory, etc.). Build requires the creation of a company which must then decide on the strategy to approach the market.
  6. Negotiation and Assignment. The original innovator and any other assignees of the IP (e.g. a University) will negotiate and eventually agree with the company about how to profit from the exploitation of the IP. The agreement may be on an absolute value or percentage of turnover, profit, etc. over a period of time and/or geographic region.
  7. Capital Raising. Now the nascent team has the rights to the IP it starts a capital raising campaign to raise money to take the innovation from original patent through to paying customers. This plan will require evidence of the benefits of the solution; full sets of accounts; prototypes, etc. Once particular funders such as banks, government, Business Angels and Venture Capitalist have been identified the parties will negotiate how the profit from the exploitation of the IP will be divided in the future.
  8. Develop Product. The output from the original Patent Application, Market Research and the Business Plan will be used to create a product plan. This plan will be followed to create the product to meet the needs of the market.
  9. Revenue. Once the first product has been created it can be sold, generating the first revenue for the company.

The route to successful commercialisation of an innovation or invention is a long one with many steps that must be followed. Failure at any of the steps could sow the seeds to the failure of the entire enterprise years later.

Lean Commercialisation has been developed to overcome many of the problems of Commercialisation by proving the value of the innovation earlier. Lean Commercialisation is the subject of the next article and the benefits are covered on the Benefits page of this website.


[1] Invention Pathway

[2] BlueChilli

[3] University of Melbourne, University of TexasSlipstream Commercialisation, Australian Government, and Knowledge Commercialisation Australia and many others.

[3] 5 reasons BAs may not sign an Non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) and Problem Solved: NDA or not NDA

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