Selling…some do not like that term, but we are all selling something, from ideas to products. When IVT first engaged with NASA’s Glenn Research Center, the Technology Transfer Office had a poor history of licensing technologies. Although they produced dozens of potentially life-changing innovations per year, they typically acquired no more than one new license annually. With years of experience in successfully licensing technology, IVT was asked to help.
Before jumping in with a marketing strategy, IVT took the time to work collaboratively with the Technology Transfer Licensing team to ensure that everyone was on the same page regarding what we were selling – licenses to NASA technologies with potential to be commercially developed. The team must be intimately familiar with the different licensing options that were available between NASA and outside entities. It quickly became obvious that the team members were not comfortable with what they were selling. To amend this, IVT developed one page information sheets on each of the license types available. Each sheet had three primary sections: what’s in it for you, what’s in it for NASA, and key parameters of the license with its requirements. These info sheets were used internally and externally and standardized the organization’s understanding and expectations.
When coupled with a concerted marketing effort, this internal alignment and tool development had outstanding results beyond what anyone had envisioned. Within two years of this effort, the licensing team went from an average of one license annually to an astonishing 23 licenses in one year! These 23 licenses encompassed 51 technologies and partnerships with a host of companies spread across nine different states. This licensing success set an all-time Agency record for a NASA Center. Beyond the numbers, these government-funded innovations stimulated the economy and promoted job growth. The Licensing Team was recognized with a NASA Group Achievement award in 2017 for this effort.