Radical innovation from the confluence of technologies: Innovation management strategies for the emerging nanobiotechnology industry

This paper co-authored by Prof. Elicia Maine, Dr. V. J. Thomas and Prof. Jim Utterback and published in the Journal of Engineering and Technology Management presents a detailed examination of radical innovations from the confluence of technologies with a specific reference to innovation management strategies for the emerging nanobiotechnology industry. 

Maine’s co-author on the papers and part of the international research collaboration, V.J. Thomas has recently been accepted for a prestigious postdoctoral fellowship to continue researching the emergence of the nanobiotechnology sector.  As part of Thomas’ two-year Mitacs Elevate Strategic Postdoctoral fellowship he is required to work with an industry partner, thereby maintaining a direct link with his research and its impact on industry. Thomas has partnered with CDRD Ventures Inc., the commercialization arm of The Centre for Drug Research and Development, which has a focus on transferring technologies from university to industry, and setting up new firms.

Thomas’ fellowship, for which the Beedie School is the academic partner, builds on much of Maine’s nanobiotechnology research collaboration’s work, which previously had identified the biotechnology and nanotechnology firms across the globe. Thomas’ proposal will investigate both multinationals and de novo firms within the sample and interview scientists to establish how they approach nanobiotechnology research and commercialization.

“At the end of this post doctoral fellowship we will be able to provide a nuanced understanding of how nanobiotechnology innovation works within different firm types,” says Thomas. “We will be able to suggest some best practices for these different firm types – practices that they can use to improve their innovation activities.”

Ideas @ Beedie Article


The emergence of the nanobiotechnology industry

Our team comprising of Prof. Elicia Maine,  Associate Professor and Academic Director Management of Technology MBA, Beedie School of Business; Dr. V. J. Thomas, Beedie School of Business Postdoctoral Fellow and a graduate of the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi; Dr. Martin Bliemel, Australian School of Business at the University of New South Wales; Armstrong Murira; and Jim Utterback, David J. McGrath jr. (1959) Professor of Management and Innovation at MIT has recently published a paper “The emergence of the nanobiotechnology industry” in the January 2014 issue of Nature Nanotechnology, a journal that has an impact factor of 31.

Gathering data on firms with both biotechnology and nanotechnology capabilities across the globe, we track the emergence and evolution of this rapidly growing industry.

“We have watched the ecosystem emerge in terms of the number and type of firms entering the industry,” said Maine. “This confluence of technologies in the emerging nanobiotechnology sector is enabling radical innovation, new products and connections that didn’t exist before. Some of the things we’re talking about are effectively targeted drug delivery, nano-scale tissue engineering, enhanced medical diagnostics, and enabling new therapeutics.”


Ideas @ Beedie Article