Innovation is challenging.
Even for innovators.
How should university leaders think about innovation and impact? What role should entrepreneurship and technology commercialization have in a university environment? How should resources be deployed? What are the benefits? How should outcomes be measured? What about return on investment? Given an entrepreneurship program, a licensing office, and an incubator, why don't we feel successful?
We hear these questions - and many more - repeatedly from leaders, administrators, donors, faculty and students. Opus Faveo works with universities to answer these and other questions and to create success stories through venture development. Our policy research activities are ongoing.
It’s About Impact
Universities and research institutions have historically been the engine for solving the problems of the world. These problems involve not only understanding ourselves, the universe, and our place in it, but also improving the human condition. Economic development is an important mechanism for both propagating innovation and improving the human condition.
By forcing open the wrought-iron gates and creating a path to the world of commerce beyond the cloistered walls and hedges, universities can generate societal and economic benefits that come full circle and reward the university as well. Those that do this the best, tend to have the most impact - in their own regions and globally.
Opus Faveo terms this the Virtuous Innovation Circle™. And we measure this through our proprietary Innovation Impact Score™.
With a focus on real-world impact, Opus Faveo works with leaders and key stakeholders of universities and research institutions to better understand their challenges of innovation and to develop and improve programs to address them. We then partner with the institution, and its faculty and students, to create success stories through new venture creation and development.
The View from the President’s Office
In a time of radical change in the nature of both university education and fundamental research, leaders of universities and research institutions face many challenges: some are administrative, some are managerial, and some are existential. And the President's Office is a vantage point for the broader stakeholders in institutional leadership, including administration, trustees and regents, donors, alumni, and political leaders, all of whom are seeking to understand and address these challenges.
We put these challenges in two discrete categories:
Challenges of education, relating to the process of teaching students, and
Challenges of research, focused on the process of generating original research, especially in the "hard sciences", but also in the social sciences.
Effective innovation management and venture development can, and should, have a beneficial effect on both categories. We list a number of such challenges below, many of which may be quite familiar. Opus Faveo helps create and optimize integrated innovation management solutions that can have a substantive, measurable, positive impact on all of these challenges.
Challenges of Education
- Measuring return on educational investment, with adjoining pressure on tuition.
- Employment for graduating students.
- Employment for alumni as careers become less predictable.
- The rise of MOOCs and remote educational delivery.
- Globalization and the rise of the rest.
- Increasing competition.
- Growing expenses coupled with questions regarding tuition levels.
- Philanthropic donor fatigue and competition for philanthropic funds.
- Competition for recruiting faculty.
- Competition for recruiting students.
Challenges of Research
- Ever-growing needs for research funding.
- Fiscal tightening among governments globally - a key source of primary research funding.
- Competition for funding.
- Questions regarding relevance of research, driven by funding sources and other stakeholders.
- Tectonic shifts in the peer-review process.
- Demands for demonstrable, practical results and open distribution of publicly-funded research.
- Increasing concerns regarding state-sponsored industrial espionage.
Over the past decade, most universities have added programs to spur the commercialization of university-developed technology. These include:
- Technology Transfer Offices
- Captive Venture Capital Funds
However, most of these programs either seek to:
- Sell available technology to (often large) commercial enterprises via license agreements, or
- Assist entrepreneurs arising from the university ecosystem.
While both goals are important components for generating innovation impact, they leave many sources of such impact floundering on the laboratory floor for lack of the right buyer or the right entrepreneur.
The Venture Development Partnership
"We are interested in the PI, not the IP"
Opus Faveo partners with university administration and faculty to identify opportunities to jointly build new ventures that would not otherwise have been created. As an independent expert in venture development, Opus Faveo brings its experience in partnering with a variety of large organizations as well as in creating new, scalable ventures across a range of industries. Freed from the constraints of bureaucracy, but capable of working with it, Opus Faveo can be sensitive to the needs of the organization while creating legal, financial and organizational structures that ensure the maximum probability of venture development success over the long term. Furthermore, the Opus Faveo compensation model ensures that our interests are strongly aligned with successful outcomes.
By understanding the needs of administration, researchers and the markets, Opus Faveo is uniquely positioned to help universities and research institutions create success stories, generate impact and improve society beyond the gates.