A great post from an entrepreneur researcher above!.
One of the greatest challenges I´ve found while getting a PhD is the seemingly impossible integration between a career as a researcher and that of an entrepreneur. At least in the IE program at Penn State I can say that the main focus so far has been on preparing graduate students to work either in industry or in academics. Entrepreneurship is hardly ever mentioned. Moreover, when it comes to talking about jobs after graduation, I swear only once in all these years I´ve heard someone considering starting an enterprise. Maybe it is just my luck, or the program where I am at, or the department…but that is what I´ve found as a graduate student in engineering and basically in any other major not related to business management. I must tell this was surprising to me coming from a B.A. program that emphasized so much on the importance of etrepreneurship.
Once (at one of the rare talks held in our department on the topic), I approached the speaker asking him about his advise on how to take my research into a business enterprise. He plainly told me: “Don´t do it, there is so much risk into it for someone young like you”. =o… As you can imagine… I was shocked!!
I mean, I hadn´t got a minor and taken so many courses in entrepreneurship and innovation to be hearing this now…
But, actually, remembering my thoughts when I engaged in graduate education, I recall realizing about the many great things being done within the walls of those labs and classrooms and the little talent that researchers in general seemed to have for pitching their ideas or finding business opportunities (I mean for themselves, because of course their brilliant ideas eventually become business opportunities for someone else like…big corporations). And this, by the way, goes along with another good article I read today about green marketing.
I would argue that society truly needs that their potdocs, graduate students and researchers in general gain the skills necessary to “pitch” their work in front of people capable of helping them to generate practical applications and business models.
Why not? Does that makes them “less scientific”, “less credible”?. I don´t think so, but all the opposite, as Francisco Palao explains in his post above (sorry, it is in Spanish!), it could be a unique opportunity for actually doing the research you want to do and, best of all, …have fun while doing it!!!.
Is there anything better than that?