scientific ideas - the valley of death - david smith

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Scientific Ideas - The Valley of Death


  • 1. STUCK IN THE VALLEY OF DEATH The gulf between scientific innovation and market development Dr. David M. Smith Arbeitsgruppenleiter DNA Nano-systeme Fraunhofer Institute fr Zelltherapie & Immunologie Leipzig, Deutschland Fraunhofer
  • 2. OUTLINE Personal introduction my path to applied biosciences Valley of death for scientific innovation The mindset for innovation Fraunhofer
  • 3. EARLY LIFE & EDUCATION 1977 - Born in Dallas Fraunhofer
  • 4. EARLY LIFE & EDUCATION 1977 - Born in Dallas Fraunhofer
  • 5. EARLY LIFE & EDUCATION 1977 - Born in Dallas Physics/philosophy UT Austin 1998 physics?? 1999 biophysics research Applied science: more trouble than its worth Fraunhofer
  • 6. RELOCATION TO GERMANY Graduate studies @ Uni-Leipzig Continued allergy to applied science PhD work esoteric Horror show of colleagues Fraunhofer
  • 7. STEP TOWARDS APPLIED SCIENCE Post-doc @ LMU Mnchen DNA Nanotechnology implied promise Adjustment Excitement Frustration Fraunhofer
  • 8. APPLIED BIONANOSCIENCE Fraunhofer Gesellschaft (Feb. 2013) Cell Therapy & Immunology (IZI) Europes biggest organization for applied research Best of both worlds Research Framework for implementation Fraunhofer
  • 9. THE VALLEY OF DEATH Fraunhofer
  • 10. THE VALLEY OF DEATH Gap between invention and real-world implementation High risk, high cost, long timescales Applicable to all commercial areas Fraunhofer
  • 11. THE VALLEY OF DEATH Gap between invention and real-world implementation High risk, high cost, long timescales Applicable to all commercial areas Commercialization of scientific discovery Translational research From bench to bedside B. Mellor, Nature 2008 Fraunhofer
  • 12. PITFALLS IN TRANSLATIONAL RESEARCH Gaps in critical expertise Contradicting priorities Ineffective communication with targets Fraunhofer
  • 13. GAPS IN CRITICAL EXPERTISE Early stages of development are fragile Limited financial resources Impatient investors Financial instability of founders/employees Major delays or technical mistakes can be fatal The right expertise are crucial for each stage of development Fraunhofer
  • 14. GAPS IN CRITICAL EXPERTISE Example: early cancer diagnostic vs. garage startup Investment without proper knowledge base Inability to develop basic prototype Failure within 2 years Clear view of what skillsets are needed and when they are needed Roadmap of expertise Avoid hubris you dont know everything Contracting needed skills can be the difference Fraunhofer
  • 15. CONTRADICTING PRIORITIES Different backgrounds + different viewpoint varying goals Are goals of critical partners & contributors compatible? Different doesnt have to mean conflicting Incompatible priorities create deadlock Fraunhofer
  • 16. CONTRADICTING PRIORITIES Example: Publish vs. Patent Publish: scientific achievement judged on publication record Patent: protection of intellectual property essential for investors Example: Early cancer diagnostic vs. established giant Scientists: novel, high-impact discovery Industry: nuts & bolts of marketable product Never assume all critical partners have the same vision Resolve incongruities before they become destructively incompatible Fraunhofer
  • 17. INEFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION WITH TARGETS Every step of translation/development has a target audience Investors Partners/collaborators Regulators Customers Each target wants something different Failure to communicate appropriately can be fatal Fraunhofer
  • 18. INEFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION WITH TARGETS Example: scientists communicating with non-scientists Whats the big picture? Message lost in technical details Tailor message to your target Know your audience cheating is OK Pick 1-2 focal points based on their perspective Build message around these points Fraunhofer
  • 19. THE MINDSET FOR INNOVATION Interaction search creativity away from your field Integration exercise the cognitive muscle The spark Fraunhofer
  • 20. INTERACTION: SEEK OUTSIDERS Explanation forces re-examination Others qualification/ignorance new viewpoints Creativity chain reaction Unexpected insights dopamine stimulation creative spark Bonus: not feeding potential competitors Fraunhofer
  • 21. TRAINING: INTEGRATION OF IDEAS The low-lying fruit has been picked Innovation lies in cross-section of fields Biomedical meets nanotechnology Social media meets video streaming Cognitive pathways in ideation are like a muscle Training: integrative brainstorming Create a project idea from 2-3 unrelated scientific papers or otherwise unconnected business/sites/etc Fraunhofer
  • 22. VOODOO: FINDING YOUR SPARK Great ideas come in all locations and situations Always be ready writing leaves a lasting impression Keep a catalogue, know which situations work for you You cant force creativity but you can repeat the conditions A drink or two never hurts Fraunhofer
  • 23. TO THE POINT Avoiding the valley of death Critical expertise Compatible priorities Targeted communication Tips for creative innovation Interaction Integration Know your spark Fraunhofer
  • 24. QUESTIONS? Fraunhofer