COMP SCI 7091 - Commercialising IT Research
North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2014
General Course Information
Course Code COMP SCI 7091 Course Commercialising IT Research Coordinating Unit School of Computer Science Term Semester 1 Level Postgraduate Coursework Location/s North Terrace Campus Units 3 Contact Up to 2 hours per week Course Description This course covers the process of transforming IT research into commercial products for the marketplace. Topics include: Protection of intellectual property (IP) - patents, trade secrets, copyrights. Creation of business plans for IT companies and products. Choosing a company structure, starting up, and avoiding early pitfalls. Understanding business ethics. Building out a management team and board. Raising capital - angel investors, venture capital, debt financing. Marketing - branding, positioning, media outlets, analysts. Sales - IP licensing, support infrastructure, joint ventures, partnerships. Differences between US and Australian commercialisation environments.
Course Coordinator: Matthew Michalewicz
The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.
Course Learning Outcomes
- To develop knowledge of the process of commercialisation, as applied to technology innovations and IT research.
- To gain knowledge of - and experience in the applications of - various business methods and principles to large scale software development.
- To gain experience in group-based research projects, and develop communication, planning and time management skills.
- To develop knowledge and experience in professional conduct and meeting participation.
- To develop presentation skills.
University Graduate Attributes
This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:
University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s) Knowledge and understanding of the content and techniques of a chosen discipline at advanced levels that are internationally recognised. 1,2 The ability to locate, analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from a wide variety of sources in a planned and timely manner. 1,3 An ability to apply effective, creative and innovative solutions, both independently and cooperatively, to current and future problems. 3 Skills of a high order in interpersonal understanding, teamwork and communication. 3,4,5 A commitment to continuous learning and the capacity to maintain intellectual curiosity throughout life. 1,2 A commitment to the highest standards of professional endeavour and the ability to take a leadership role in the community. 4,5
Required ResourcesThe prescribed textbook for the course is: Hisrich, R., Peters, M., Shepherd, D. Entrepreneurship. (6th or 7th Edition). McGraw-Hill Irwin which is available from unibooks
Recommended ResourcesAlso recommended is: Michalewicz, M., Michalewicz, Z. Winning Credibility: A guide for building a business from rags to riches. Hybrid Publishers. which is available from amazon.com
Learning & Teaching Activities
Learning & Teaching ModesThe course aims to introduce students to a wide range of Commercialisation terminology, techniques and processes through an ten week block of lectures. The concepts taught in these lectures will be practised and reinforced by participation in group-based projects. These projects will take students through the entire commercialisation lifecycle, from the development of a business concept and conducting market research, through to business plan creation and exit strategy planning. Feedback will be provided to students in order for students to improve on their research, planning, writing, presentation, and meeting management skills. At the end of the semester, students will give a final presentation of the business plan they developed during the course of the semester.
The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.
Commercialising IT Research is a 3 unit course. The expectation is that students will be spending 12 hours per week working on the course. For the first 8 weeks of the course, this will include 2 hours per week of lectures plus occasional 1-hour tutorials as needed. The rest of the time will be spent on the reading assignments and project work.
NOTE: the nature of the course means that it is very easy for students to spend more than the allotted 12 hours per week on the course. The onus is on students to plan their tasks and time carefully to ensure they do not over commit to the project. Importantly students should start preparing for the project from week 1, and should maintain a consistent workload throughout the semester.
Learning Activities SummaryThe following topics will be covered during the semester:
• Fundamentals of commercialisation: definitions, concepts of risk & reward, licensing, joint ventures, company creation, role of the entrepreneur.
• Market research and business concept: defining the opportunity, conducting primary & secondary research, SWOT analysis, industry and competitor analysis, target markets and segmentation.
• Marketing plan and business plan: go-to-market strategy, positioning, branding, decomposing the business plan, mapping the business plan to company goals and milestones.
• Legal structures and organizational plan: sole proprietorships, partnerships, companies, S-corps, C-corps, LLC, differences between Australian and U.S. legal structures.
• Intellectual property: copyright, trademarks, design rights, trade secrets, patents, differences between Australia and U.S. treatment of IP protection.
• Financing: sources of funding - friends & family, government grants, angel investors, venture capitalists, debt, public markets. The capital raising process, dilution and control, shareholder rights.
• The management team and board: roles and functions within a company, creating a scalable organisation, role of directors, advisors, managers, and shareholders.
• Sales, marketing, and infrastructure: role of the marketing function, managing the sales pipeline, supporting infrastructure, handovers between business units.
• Exits and end games: acquisitions, mergers, initial public offerings, management buyouts, liquidations.
The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:
- Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
- Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
- Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
- Assessment must maintain academic standards.
Assessment SummaryThe assessment for all students will include the completion of a group project, consisting of market research, the development of a basic business plan for a hypothetical IT invention, and a presentation to the class. The total grade for the course is comprised of the following assignments:
Assessment Due Date Weighting Learning Objectives 1 page business concept (individual) 25th March 20% 1,2 Marketing Plan (group) 13th May 40% 1,2,3,4 Business Plan (group) 10th June 20% 1,2,3,4 Presentation (individually assessed) 10th June 20% 1,2,4,5
Assessment Related RequirementsAttendance at lectures is compulsory and students will be required to obtain at least 50% overall to pass the course.
Assessment DetailIndividual Assessments
1st Assessment: 1 page business concept
The first assessment will be an individual assignment, consisting of a business concept outline that describes a hypothetical IT innovation, potential customers, the benefit customers will derive from using the product, and the delivery channel through which the product will be sold. This assignment provides students with an opportunity to put on an inventor's or entrepreneur's hat, and think creatively to come up with a business concept for a hypothetical IT innovation.
4th Assessment: Presentation
The fourth assessment will be a group assignment that will require the conversion of the group's business into a summarized powerpoint presentation that can be explained in 15 minutes. This assignment will provide students with an opportunity to develop their oral presentation skills through the preparation of a formal powerpoint slide deck and presentation to their peers. The first three assessments culminate in the delivery of this business plan presentation. All assignments need to be submitted in hardcopy by the due date. The 4th Assessment, which is the business plan presentation, will be submitted via oral presentation on due date. There will be no final exam for this course. Note that this presentation is individually assessed, all group members will be required to participate and answer questions regarding their knowledge and contributions.
The remaining assessments (from 2 to 3) will be carried out as group projects. Students will be asked to form groups of 3 - 5, review all the business concepts that each group members created individually, and then select the most viable concept for use in the remaining assessments. Group member's contribution to the presentation will be individually assessed.
2nd Assessment: Marketing plan
The second assessment will be a group assignment that will involve conducting elaborate market research into the business concept that was selected by the group. During this assignment, students will have to manage the research project by dividing the workload into logical segments, assigning team members to specific segments, and then collating the results into a comprehensive marketing plan that addresses go-to-market strategies, positioning, branding, and research into competitors, industry trends, and potential customers.
3rd Assessment: Business plan
The third assessment will be a group assignment that will necessitate the extension of the group's marketing plan (2nd Assessment) into a full scale business plan. Areas that will need to be addressed include intellectual property, legal structures, organisational structures, financing methods used, and product and infrastructure development.
SubmissionAll assignments need to be submitted in hardcopy by the due date. Assessment 4, presentation on business plan, will be submitted via oral presentation on due date. Extensions for assessment tasks will not be provided, a penalty for late submission of assessment tasks will be incurred of 10 points for each day late.
Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:
M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme) Grade Mark Description FNS Fail No Submission F 1-49 Fail P 50-64 Pass C 65-74 Credit D 75-84 Distinction HD 85-100 High Distinction CN Continuing NFE No Formal Examination RP Result Pending
Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.
Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.
Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.
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SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/101/) course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.
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