Business Isn’t Rocket Science

This blog post is the first in a three part series in which Ian Siragher the Commercial Director of Agenda1 Analytical Services provides some thoughts & analysis on what he feels is  the difference between commercialising a technology and the “business of science”.

Business isn’t rocket science. A business identifies a product, sources it, one way or another, tells  customers about it, agrees a price, delivers the product, collects the cash covers the costs (hopefully) and starts again. There are plenty of challenges, and plenty of surprises along the way, but usually those surprises and challenges fall into the category of “known unknowns”.

Science on the other hand if not exactly rocket science every time, is science. Science begins with unknowns and works to identify hidden truths. Those truths can be the foundation of great products. But the path from thought to delivery is always difficult.  At the early stages, the customer, product, price, delivery mechanism, cash availability, etc etc are all unknown; the unknown unknowns outweigh the businessperson’s unknowns 10 to 1.

Given those challenges the wonder is that any new technology reaches the market place. And it’s not getting easier. Competition is harder, markets are changing faster, regulations are getting tougher,  and the funding streams are drying up.  Commercializing a technology is just plain hard.

Actually, I dislike the phrase “commercialising a technology”. I dislike it because it focuses on the technology rather than the business. Bringing a technology to thrive successfully in a market place requires focussing on what I see as the Business of Science, not the commercialization of a technology.

I contend that companies that focus on the Business of Science, (later I refer to them as Boss Businesses),  make different decisions, work differently, and have a different mind set to those Commercializing a technology (CaT groups).  The key difference is the different emphasis placed on readying the entire business to meet the harsh realities of the commercial world.  This distinction is important because I believe Boss Businesses have a much great likelihood of survival and success…

The second part of this blog post ‘What’s the difference?’ will be available on this Analytical Science Blog in January. You can follow @Agenda1Blog on twitter for the latest updates from Agenda 1 Analytical Services.