A US-based technology company was interested in expanding its Intellectual Property (IP) licensing and Joint Development Activity(JDA) to drive growth in its global Research and Development (R&D) organization. The client had pursued R&D partnerships with a range of companies over the past decade with varying levels of success, and needed to find a better way to predict which companies would yield productive long-term relationships. To support its Global IP partnership strategy, Beacon's client asked Beacon to independently analyze, refine, and develop a set of key criteria for attractive partnerships that the client could leverage to focus its scarce resources on the most attractive opportunities.
Beacon used a three-phased approach to refine and build on the client's initial hypotheses:
Phase I – Criteria Refinement: Beacon independently analyzed the client's past partnership experiences, both successful and unsuccessful, and conducted over 250 interviews with industry analysts, past client partners, potential client partners, and internal client sources to gather a range of perspectives on the industrial, cultural, administrative, geographic, and economic factors influencing IP partnership viability. Findings from this analysis drove adjustments, deletions, and additions to the initial partner criteria.
Phase II – Potential Partner Identification: Beacon leveraged its primary research capabilities to identify companies across 15 different industries that fit some or all of the attractive partner criteria. Beacon collected company background and conducted interviews to gauge the company's willingness to partner for R&D, need for innovation, and interest in the client's core capabilities and areas of strength.
Phase III – Analytical Tool Development and Refinement: Beacon constructed an Excel-based analytical tool to score and force-rank past and potential partner companies against key variables, enabling in-depth and ongoing analysis and refinement of criteria based on the model's output. Beacon developed scoring definitions for each identified cultural, financial, administrative, and geographic variable to enable its client to easily evaluate and score potential partner companies, and assigned initial weightings to the variables to reflect their relative importance to overall success. To test its model, Beacon scored the client's past partners and ~60 potential partner companies against the criteria and variables in the tool and iteratively refined and adjusted variable weightings to produce a force-ranking that most closely mirrored the client's past experiences.
Over a 10-week engagement Beacon validated and refined client hypotheses through independent research and analysis, generated a force-ranked list of near-term partnership opportunities to pursue, and developed a Partnership Analysis Excel Tool. Beacon provided the client team with step by step instructions for how to leverage the tool in its ongoing analysis of criteria and potential partners. The tool allows the user change variable weightings, add/delete criteria, and add new partner profiles to the force-ranked list, and will allow the client to adjust to shifting internal priorities and changing market conditions. The tool also automatically links potential partner variable scores to different aspects of the client's value proposition to support a more tailored sales approach.