Papers

Creating the bonita Transfer Model

bridge vilniusMore than a century ago, engineers understood that accidents like sinking ships and collapsed bridges became increasingly rare because history, and years of experience has established certain procedures and guidelines in their design and construction.   Standards, such as construction parameters and tolerance levels, refined though time, equipped engineers with the tools  and methods to understand the consequences of these specifications and to design accordingly.  As a result, the production and manufacturing process became reliable, predictable and efficient.

Some three decades ago, software developers started seeking similar strategies.  The ICT community realized that it takes a defined software development process to yield high quality products.  The continuingly increasing available computer power and growing complexity of the programs necessitated writing correct, understandable, and verifiable code. Process standards such as ISO Process standards such as ISO 9000 and the Capability Maturity Model (CMM) have been used by software organizations around the world for making tremendous improvements in their ability to reduce costs while improving productivity, quality, time to market, and customer satisfaction.

Today, the European scientific community and their political stakeholders are beginning to realize that, especially from a European perspective,  the improvement of research performance and its transfer  to social and economic impact relies heavily on the maturity of transfer-supporting processes. Establishing a continuous development program of capabilities for research professionals and the regional competitiveness of the countries and creating a roadmap for improvement actions means accordingly to the above mentioned areas improved efficiency of research funding – gaining for a better return of invest in the scientific system. In achieving a certain standard of transfer capabilities, both research organizations and regional companies being active in motivating and elevating the European ICT research sector to internationally competitive competency standards.

Therefore bonita Project has begun to create a Transfer Model that supports public research organizations, incubators, technology parks and innovation and transfer agencies in successfully addressing transfer issues from basic research to economic value.

“Based upon the structure of the People Capability Maturity Model (CMM, SEI - Carnegie Mellon) and ISO 15504, the bonita Transfer Model will be constructed from the essential practices of several domains of organizational processes.” explains software engineering international expert Prof. Antanas Mitasiunas of Vilnius University.

“While the first version of the People Capability Maturity Model (People CMM) was developed in 1995 and since then is widely used as a tool that helps addressing the critical people issues in organizations, bonita will employ a comparable process framework  as a foundation for best practices of managing and developing the transfer capabilities of an organization”

The bonita Transfer Model will work within the framework of current best practices in fields such as communication, knowledge management, project management, social networking, human resources/ organizational development and commercialization of research.  The Transfer Model will help organizations characterize their capability in current transfer practices, establish a program of continuous organizational development, set priorities for improvement actions, integrate transfer development with process improvement, and establish a culture of excellence.
Additionally, identification of indicators how efforts in the technology transfer process enhances innovation in "real business world" settings helps to provide measurable arguments on the importance of e.g. governmental investments for the innovation capacity inside a region.

“We have always believed that the knowledge of our scientists is our universities’ greatest asset.“ says bonita Project Manger Dr. Michael Boronowsky, Managing Director of TZI, University of Bremen. “While former transfer improvement programs emphasize heavily on infrastructure and technology, bonita on the other hand concentrates on the workforce, which makes it an integral part of our efforts to provide higher levels of personnel capability throughout our organization.   This achievement enforces the continued commitment to develop and enhance skills and capabilities of research organizations and transfer facilitators and their employees.”

Though all project partners’ regions already apply real technology and innovation transfer activities, these are mostly not documented nor assessed in a structured way. The aim of the first project year was to collect descriptions of the existing technology and innovation transfer activities.

bonita partner organizations were asked to evaluate their organization’s current status of technology-transfer activities by answering a self-assessment study entitled  a “Guide for obtaining information and analysis of current transfer models on BSR”

“When summarizing the answers of the study, we found that it is impossible to define a clear definition of the process of technology transfer among partners even though their actual success rate is high.“ explains Annika Sällström, Centre for Distance-spanning Technology (CDT)  at Luleå University of Technology. “However, the answers illustrated two significant findings, that is; the importance of individuals, as well as the uniqueness among different organizations.”

Additionally in November and December 2009, five research and transfer institutions in the Federal State of Bremen, Germany, were surveyed under aspects of a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analyses. Factors to the success of transfer activities were identified concordantly in both studies:

  • Person-to-person contact, whom to contact and the use of different communication channels
  • Cooperation and networking
  • A concrete added value and relevant offers for the stakeholders
  • Deep understanding of the nature of business and diverse attitudes and values and increased awareness of technology transfer activities 
  • Financial instruments that support technology transfer


Combined with a broad literature research, Uwe Gundrum, Senior Scientist from the University of Bremen clustered the evaluated success factors for the project according to criteria of

1) Organization and institutional funding,
2) Planning, success control and qualification,
3) Co-operation and project management and
4) Financing and promotion:

Sucess factors of technology ransfer

In January 2010, in a pivotal bonita conference, consortium partners met in Vilnius, Lithuania to deliberate and eventually come to a common understanding of the bonita transfer model, along with its impact and limitations.

“The chosen approach of modelling transfer and transfer support activities is target oriented, not process oriented itself. We are deeply aware of the success factors like person-to-person-contact, understanding of different professional attitudes and individuality of organizational structures. There exists no single perfect transfer process. It is all about people,” says Michael Boronowsky.

Therefore the bonita Transfer Model defines important process areas according to these success factors. The targets of the process areas can be achieved in different ways. Currently a focused bonita task force is developing a concrete/actionable Transfer model, and this spring, TZI in Bremen will be the first institution of the consortium to apply a working version of the bonita Transfer model.

More than a century ago, engineers understood that accidents like sinking ships and collapsed bridges became increasingly rare because history, and years of experience has established certain procedures and guidelines in their design and construction.   Standards, such as construction parameters and tolerance levels, refined though time, equipped engineers with the tools  and methods to understand the consequences of these specifications and to design accordingly.  As a result, the production and manufacturing process became reliable, predictable and efficient.

Some three decades ago, software developers started seeking similar strategies.  The ICT community realized that it takes a defined software development process to yield high quality products.  The continuingly increasing available computer power and growing complexity of the programs necessitated writing correct, understandable, and verifiable code. Process standards such as ISO Process standards such as ISO 9000 and the Capability Maturity Model (CMM) have been used by software organizations around the world for making tremendous improvements in their ability to reduce costs while improving productivity, quality, time to market, and customer satisfaction.

Today, the European scientific community and their political stakeholders are beginning to realize that, especially from a European perspective,  the improvement of research performance and its transfer  to social and economic impact relies heavily on the maturity of transfer-supporting processes. Establishing a continuous development program of capabilities for research professionals and the regional competitiveness of the countries and creating a roadmap for improvement actions means accordingly to the above mentioned areas improved efficiency of research funding – gaining for a better return of invest in the scientific system. In achieving a certain standard of transfer capabilities, both research organizations and regional companies being active in motivating and elevating the European ICT research sector to internationally competitive competency standards.

Therefore bonita Project has begun to create a Transfer Model that supports public research organizations, incubators, technology parks and innovation and transfer agencies in successfully addressing transfer issues from basic research to economic value.

“Based upon the structure of the People Capability Maturity Model (CMM, SEI - Carnegie Mellon) and ISO 15504, the bonita Transfer Model will be constructed from the essential practices of several domains of organizational processes.” explains software engineering international expert Prof. Antanas Mitasiunas of Vilnius University.

“While the first version of the People Capability Maturity Model (People CMM) was developed in 1995 and since then is widely used as a tool that helps addressing the critical people issues in organizations, bonita will employ a comparable process framework  as a foundation for best practices of managing and developing the transfer capabilities of an organization”

The bonita Transfer Model will work within the framework of current best practices in fields such as communication, knowledge management, project management, social networking, human resources/ organizational development and commercialization of research.  The Transfer Model will help organizations characterize their capability in current transfer practices, establish a program of continuous organizational development, set priorities for improvement actions, integrate transfer development with process improvement, and establish a culture of excellence.
Additionally, identification of indicators how efforts in the technology transfer process enhances innovation in "real business world" settings helps to provide measurable arguments on the importance of e.g. governmental investments for the innovation capacity inside a region.

“We have always believed that the knowledge of our scientists is our universities’ greatest asset.“ says bonita Project Manger Dr. Michael Boronowsky, Managing Director of TZI, University of Bremen. “While former transfer improvement programs emphasize heavily on infrastructure and technology, bonita on the other hand concentrates on the workforce, which makes it an integral part of our efforts to provide higher levels of personnel capability throughout our organization.   This achievement enforces the continued commitment to develop and enhance skills and capabilities of research organizations and transfer facilitators and their employees.”

Though all project partners’ regions already apply real technology and innovation transfer activities, these are mostly not documented nor assessed in a structured way. The aim of the first project year was to collect descriptions of the existing technology and innovation transfer activities.