Saturday, August 29, 2009

Naarm savours Prof. Cahoon' Potpourri

It had been a taxing week and was still to be followed by week of baffling challenges. The students of Post Graduate Diploma in Intellectual Property & Technology Management, NAARM, Hyderabad were destined to capture earnestly the moments we had vouched for since the time we first heard and understood the concept of Tech Management. The reason for this overwhelming statement is well justified.

The next seventy two hours presented us with a wonderful opportunity! to have Dr. Richard Cahoon, Cornell’s technology licensing and marketing arm, amidst us. Dr. Cahoon, Prof, Cornell University and RS Cahoon & Associates was with us in a three day long workshop on Agripreneurship: Managing Agricultural Innovation & Enterprise Development, scheduled from August 24-26, 2009. The students, in pin striped dark blue formal suits were ready for the event. Along with them were senior level scientists from ICAR institutes in Hyderabad belonging to multifarious disciplines of agriculture (poultry to biotechnology!). This added flavor to the rich taste created by Mr. Cahoon’s presence.

The workshop commenced with a brief introduction of Dr Cahoon who talked of his 20 years experience in various aspects of technology commercialization, including research and development, invention, project management, product development, marketing, engineering and entrepreneurship. The maneuvered moves in his professional career rendered the onlookers with their brows raised, everybody just set in a mode to listen more and grasp more. Professor quickly assessed the heat of the moment and started with the conceptual facts that lay behind in Agripreneurship. The significance of invention and innovation in Agri world was highlighted with real time case studies with laid emphasis on the fortune that an inventor is able to amass once they let the expert technology managers to lay their hands on his invention.

The post lunch session was designed so as to ensure healthy participation of each member present in the hall. Thus, it involved assigning of projects to the students organized into five separate groups. We were expected to analyze the cases, understand the crux of the given situation and apply the strategic tools (to be learnt) at the end to present our cases on the last day of the workshop.

The day two focused on factual cases referring to challenges posed when a technology is set forth for commercialization and I would personally congratulate Prof Cahoon for the blueprint he fabricated to envelope and thereby deliver major aspects of Tech Transfer in such a short span.

The day third was the test day for us students. Prof Cahoon listened to us more talking of plan of action for technologies. The late night discussions, the last minute additions, discussions all went for grand applause from the Prof and faculty. The Prof complimented each team for the efforts taken and the approach adopted to validate the proposed ‘plan of action’ they had undertaken whether it was commercialization strategy of HYV Sorghum for biofuel production or seedless fruits or insect resistant tomatoes or antimicrobial extract of honey. The workshop finally terminated with a short valediction ceremony and a promising note to see our Prof again for advanced business models…

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