TECHNOLOGY INNOVATION AND COMMERCIALISATION NOTAP
The future for the Nigerian economy heavily depends on its ability to acquire and apply technology indigenously to produce goods, processes, devices and provide services. To achieve this, a well-focused National Innovation System (NIS) is necessary in which technology acquisition is well matched to the needs of the market and industry. The Nigerian NIS is composed of ministries, departments and agencies, tertiary institutions, research institutions/centres, financial institutions, the industry and civil society organisations.
Traditionally, commercializing R&D outputs is meant to enhance competitiveness and capability of the NIS by promoting indigenous technologies resulting from R&D activities undertaken tertiary institutions, research institutions/centres, industry, individual researchers, inventors and traditional knowledge. It is an expensive and time-consuming exercise, involving the major technical activities enumerated below:.
This phase begins with techno-market insight to prove the concept of a technology and a market opportunity. The activities include the demonstration in a laboratory of critical components of the technology and the development of a related business model
ii. Intellectual Property Rights
The procedure for granting patents, the requirements placed on the patentee, and the extent of the exclusive rights vary widely between countries according to national laws and international agreements. Typically, however, a patent application must include one or more claims defining the invention which must be new, non-obvious, and useful or industrially applicable.
Identification of a Venture capitalist, access to risk/ research funds and technology transfer licensing are prerequisite for a successful commercialisation of research and development.
Technology development has great uncertainty as to whether a new design will perform as expected. A prototype is often used as part of the product design process to allow inventors and researchers to explore design alternatives, test theories and confirm performance prior to starting production of a new product. Inventors and researchers use their experience to tailor the prototype according to the specific unknowns still present in the intended design.
v. Research and Development
Establishing and refining the production process to meet market demand and regulatory specifications of products and services.
vi. Business Plan
A business plan is a formal statement of a set of business goals, the plan for reaching those goals. It may also contain background information about the organization and the management model to be adopted. A three to five year business plan is required since investors will look for their annual return in the three to five year duration.
vii. Technology Incubation
Incubation of the proven technology by the following activities: definition of technical and product performance specifications; validation of technical capabilities in context of the performance specifications; and further validation of the market and related commercial concept and business plan. Typical suppliers of resources for Incubating activities include the federal government, state governments, owners/entrepreneurs, corporate R&D departments, university R&D departments, and, to a limited extent, angel investors. Given the lack of tangible market validation and risks, private investors generally do not fund projects in the Incubating Phase.
viii. Market Entry
Entrepreneur enters the market to validate the commercial opportunity by scaling up the production to a full enterprise. Activities are those typically associated with an ongoing business – production, service, distribution, sales, and marketing.
ix. Growth and Sustainability
The Growth and Sustainability Phase involves the execution of a comprehensive business plan to increase market share and/or total revenue and profit in context of a self-sustaining business.
The following activities are planned by NOTAP to achieve innovation and commercialisation in Nigeria:
i. Coordinating the preparation of feasibility studies to confirm economic viability of projects and provide relevant information for entrepreneurs and financiers;
ii. Coordinating the establishment of pilot projects to test/demonstrate the feasibility and economic viability of R&D results and inventions;
iii. Initiating plans and programmes for sourcing funds to implement commercialisation programmes;
iv. Promoting and marketing of commercialisable research results;
v. Ensuring the participation of the office at all relevant trade fairs/exhibitions to gather technological information;
vi. Initiating programmes that will sustain linkages with national and international organisations;
vii. Disseminating viable information on R&D results to the public through newsletters, journals and advertisement in both electronic and print media;
viii. Conducting Technology Foresight surveys;
ix. Organising Tech-Marts and other public awareness programmes;
x. Promoting innovation and spur competitiveness for national development;
xi. Conducting national technology needs assessment.