Technology Transfer and Innovation Is Technology Transfer More Important than Innovation?

Author / Editor: Tony Ingham / Dominik Stephan

Innovation, we are told, is the key to a successful manufacturing economy. Invent and patent something and you will make money on every one made – if it is mass produced you get an on-going income. Tony Ingham of Sensor Technology looks at his experience over two decades and tries to draw some general principles that may help Britain in its new ambition to rebuild the manufacturing base.

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(Picture: PROCESS India)

We are all familiar with the idea of the man who had a brilliant idea and got it to market - James Dyson and his revolutionary vacuum cleaner; Steve Jobs who dropped out of college, tinkered with some electronics and set up Apple; Percy Shaw, the man behind the cat’s eye. And most of us are bright enough to know that there is an awful lot of hard work between having the idea and reaping generous rewards.

Never the less the principle is sound and of far greater significance than the inventor’s eventual personal wealth is the fact that whole companies and industries can be developed and sustained. These will employ many people and make an integral contribution to the national economy.

A Tradition of innovation – And an Open Mind For Technology

Sensor Technology has a long tradition of product innovations, Tony Ingham believes: A large percentage of Sensor Technology's staff are scientists, engineers and researchers who have created many practical technologies that have been developed into successful commercial products, mainly in the field of sensing and measurement, he explains.

“Of course there have been some failures along the way too. In fact if you were to count up, probably more failures than successes. But the important thing is that the successes can be capitalised upon to more-than cover the cost of the failures,“ Ingham states.

This is pretty much the standard model for innovation that economists talk about (it is also the model that politicians and pundits abbreviate to ‘one good idea and you are made for life)’.... More on page 2!