Foster Environment

Foster an Innovative and Entrepreneurial Environment on Campus to Increase High-Potential Start-Ups

Committee on Business Productivity Recommendation: "First, Do No Harm"

The University should avoid attempts to centralize control as such approaches are antithetical to an innovative and entrepreneurial culture.

Technology Commercialization Committee Response:

The recommendation states that the University should continue to follow a decentralized but federated approach toward fostering innovation and entrepreneurship on campus. Implicit in this recommendation is the notion that University entities engaged in innovative and entrepreneurial activities should be informed and supportive of the innovative and entrepreneurial activities across campus. This requires coordinated communication and will be addressed by the Commercial and Entrepreneurship Council being created as well as a designated coordinator who will facilitate the accomplishment of the tasks of the Council.

Committee on Business Productivity Recommendation: Create a Clearninghouse

While guarding against centralization, the University should create a body to facilitate the sharing of ideas and best practices. The University should create an informal Commercial and Entrepreneurship Council (“CEC”) composed of those most involved in this realm, on and off campus. Initial members should certainly include the Deans of the schools of Business/Engineering/Natural Sciences and the head of Texas Venture Labs. Such a group would facilitate cooperation, avoid duplication of effort, foster cross-pollination of ideas, and share best practices. As part of its initial deliberations, the CEC should consider what administrative support is required for it to carry out its critical function.

Technology Commercialization Committee Response:

The recommended Commercialization and Entrepreneurship Council is in the process of being created. Members will be appointed by the President and include the deans of colleges and schools whose faculty members are engaged in commercialization and entrepreneurship activities and co-chaired by the Executive Vice President and Provost and the Vice President for Research.

Administrative support will enable the Council to create outputs such as a campuswide strategic plan, provide information on campus commercialization and entrepreneurial activities and events, and oversee the creation and management of the portal.

Committee on Business Productivity Recommendation: Create a Conflict Resolution Mechanism

The startup process is inherently messy, chaotic, and cuts across The University’s established structures. A robust conflict-resolution mechanism would prevent stall-outs and would help maintain startup momentum, allowing companies to be formed with confidence. This mechanism could be a single senior officer or a small body that could deliberate on conflicts, but in either case needs to be positioned on the organizational chart such that it has the power to act in a timely manner.

Technology Commercialization Committee Response:

Depending on the specific nature of actual or potential conflicts, there are several mechanisms currently in place for resolving them, including mechanisms that reside with the Office of Technology Commercialization, the academic deans, and the Office of the Vice President for Research. The Commercialization and Entrepreneurship Council is being tasked with preparing and disseminating a document or handbook containing comprehensive and prescriptive reference information that would-be entrepreneurs or faculty members wishing to commercialize intellectual property can use for guidance to prevent conflicts.

In addition, the co-chairs and one member of the Commercialization and Entrepreneurial Council will be tasked with resolving commercialization- and entrepreneurship-related conflicts that are not addressable through existing mechanisms.