Taking Technical Risks: How Innovators, Managers, and Investors Manage Risk in High-Tech Innovations

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How do technology innovators, business executives, and venture capitalists manage the technical elements of business risk when developing and launching new products? Overcoming technical risks requires crossing the so-called valley of death--the gap between demonstrating the soundness of a technical concept in a controlled setting and readying the product technology for the market. Crossing the valley of death may mean bringing university-based research to the point where it appears viable to venture capitalists,...
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Overview

How do technology innovators, business executives, and venture capitalists manage the technical elements of business risk when developing and launching new products? Overcoming technical risks requires crossing the so-called valley of death--the gap between demonstrating the soundness of a technical concept in a controlled setting and readying the product technology for the market. Crossing the valley of death may mean bringing university-based research to the point where it appears viable to venture capitalists, or bridging the cultural gap between technical innovators and the managers who are being asked to risk their institutional resources. In every context, purely technical risks are coupled with the market risks inherent in innovation.

In this book Lewis Branscomb and Philip Auerswald address early-stage, high-tech innovation in the context of business decision making and innovation policy. The topics addressed include the extent to which purely technical risk is separable from market risk; how industrial managers make decisions on funding early-stage, high-risk technology projects; and under what circumstances government can and should act to reduce the technical risks of innovative projects so that firms will invest in them. The book includes contributions by Mary Good, George Hartmann, James McGroddy, Mike Myers, Michael Roberts, and F. M. Scherer.

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Editorial Reviews

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"An intelligently conceived, informative book. Examples are carefully chosen, and the precepts are thoroughly outlined." Financial Executive
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262024907
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 2/19/2001
  • Pages: 220
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Lewis M. Branscomb is Aetna Professor in Public Policy and Corporate Management, Emeritus, atHarvard University.

Philip Auerswald is Director of the Center for Science and Technology Policy and an AssistantProfessor at the School of Public Policy at George Mason University. He is co-editor ofInnovations: Technology | Governance | Globalization and author or co-author of numerous books, reports, and research papers, including Taking Technical Risk: HowInnovators, Executives, and Investors Manage High-Tech Risks (MIT Press, 2001) andSeeds of Disaster, Roots of Response: How Private Action Can Reduce PublicVulnerability.

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Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction 1
I Between Invention and Innovation 8
Technical Risk, Product Specifications, and Market Risk 30
II Defining Risks and Rewards 44
The Dual-Edged Role of the Business Model in Leveraging Corporate Technology Investments 57
III Institutional Differences: Large, Medium-Sized, and New Firms 69
Raising Mice in the Elephants' Cage 87
IV More Ways to Fail Than to Succeed: Strategies for Managing Risk 96
Technology Policy for a World of Skew-Distributed Outcomes 125
V Overcoming Barriers 139
Will Industry Fund the Science and Technology Base for the Twenty-First Century? 158
VI The Changing Landscape: Innovators, Firms, and Government 168
References 190
About the Contributors 199
Index 203
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