Future Direction for Public Technology Commercialization
- Date : 21-06-30
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The Diffusion of Innovation Theory proposes that the rate of innovation is important in order to have or maintain a competitive advantage in a drastically changing environment. The theory suggests that only innovation leaders who achieve commercialization and efficiency in R&D can lead and survive in the global market. Futurists Alvin and Heidi Toffler explained that accelerating innovations convert an economy of size into an economy of speed in the “New Normal” world. The United Nations has been promoting research and innovative activities to respond to this kind of innovative environment, where only the fastest survive. By forming partnerships with research institutes and industries, the United Nations is attempting to improve the quality of research and innovation in public facilities. China has been steadily promoting important national projects and the growth of new market-oriented R&D facilities for technological development and commercialization via a strategy called “rapid commercialization.”
South Korea’s technological innovations fail to fully meet the demands of consumers, and have been limited to heavily quantitative assessments, such as papers, patents, and research results that remain within laboratories. What direction must we take to commercialize public technologies?
First, the innovation gap between research communities and industries must be minimized so that newly developed technologies can proceed to the commercialization stage. Currently, approximately 92% of public technologies are transferred to small- and medium-sized companies, which often lack business value or absorptive capacity. Innovative growth through collaboration between industries, universities, and research institutes is reaching its ceiling, demonstrating the limitations of the current linear model of innovation. Instead of pursuing innovation through a relay between industries, universities, and research institutes, an innovation process model should be adopted in which innovation leaders run alongside each other from the early phases of R&D through to commercialization. The three/four helix model accomplishes exactly this. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has also proposed the co-creation model, in which innovation leaders cooperate to produce and utilize knowledge to overcome the limitations of existing innovation systems. In its Science and Technology Basic Plan (2020-2050), Japan proposed a policy direction in which the collaboration between academia and industries is shifted to the basic research phase.
Second, to establish an ecosystem for technological commercialization, more incentives should be given to industries utilizing technologies from external sources, rather than those developing their own technologies. The closed corporate culture - resulting in a greater rate of technological development within a corporation than the rate of using technologies from external sources - as well as the reduced funds for industry-academia collaborative research provided to universities and public research institutes, only promotes closed innovation. South Korea’s tax policies, which favor industries that develop their own technologies rather than those that use technologies from external sources, are also contributing to this closed innovation. It is necessary to drastically expand the tax benefits for industries using technologies from external sources, and expand the range of special taxation cases to include all industries.
Also, with the current assessment system centered around papers and patents, it is not easy to validate and demonstrate technologies. Policies that grant additional weightage and royalties to technological validation and demonstration should be implemented.
Tuula Teeri, the President of Finnish Aalto University, visited South Korea in 2016, and said, “We must move beyond the idea of transferring technologies and knowledge, which are the results of R&D, to industries, and seek ways for scientists and industries to learn and obtain knowledge alongside each other,” suggesting a clear shift in direction toward public R&D commercialization, which remains an unresolved issue today.