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Economic Development Office

Washington State University Center for Innovation and Value Creation (web site)

Washington State University
655 N. Riverpoint Blvd.
P.O. Box 1495
Spokane, WA 99210-1495 (map it)

General Description

The Washington State University Center for Innovation and Value Creation (the University Center) has provided technical assistance, applied research, and outreach for Washington small businesses, entrepreneurs, and startups for over 20 years. The University Center is funded through a grant from the federal Economic Development Administration University Center Program and is one of approximately 60 centers in the US. The goals of the University Center include: 1) Provide fundamental business modeling and business planning for new businesses and established businesses that wish to expand. 2) Assist in commercialization efforts from within Washington State University talent into the private sector and public arenas. 3) Help private sector entrepreneurs recognize and utilize WSU technology and talent to advance new ventures. 4) Provide an interface between rural, metropolitan, and research universities within the state of Washington. 5) Catalyze economic development in rural and metropolitan areas that focuses on agriculture, energy, health care and health sciences, and manufacturing. 6) Supporting entrepreneurs with fundamental information in order to test feasibility and marketability of new ideas. 7) Develop strong collaborations between the Washington research universities, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and other national laboratories, and regional businesses to ensure that new ideas are identified and advanced. The University Center offers a unique service for new products or services that are the frameworks for new businesses or the foundations of expansions to an existing businesses. Innovation Assessment Services provides evaluation of new ideas by academic researchers and subject matter experts to estimate the market feasibility of these new ideas. Early stage products, new ideas, and frameworks for new services are subjected to feasibility analyses to determine if there is a market for them, what the competitive landscape is, and if there are intellectual property considerations that need to be accounted for. The research and analysis is synthesized into recommendations for each client.

Assistance Available

General Management/Business Planning
The University Center offers business model development and business planning services to the public, the private sector, and research university faculty and staff. Our approach is centered on customer discovery and customer development, and clients are highly engaged with University Center Staff in the process. There is no typical product, service, idea, or, for that matter, client served by the University Center. Products, services, and ideas range from simple solutions to shave costs to complex marketing complex and high-tech ideas emerging from WSU and other research institutions. Strategic positioning is often an exercise that occurs before business model development is appropriate. The University Center is engaged in developing new facets to build economic opportunities, especially in rural areas. Efforts are underway to understand more fully the impacts of events in regions, too. Results of both types of effort help to recruit new talent as jobs are created and to assist local workforces to adapt to changing economic development opportunities and priorities.

Innovation Assessment Services consists of a thorough feasibility study with the following components. MARKET ANALYSIS - Market analysis relevant to the product or idea is conducted. Target customers are identified and the size of the market based on that target customer is estimated. Innovation Assessment Services relies on information that is not currently available to the public, and accesses much of this material through the WSU Libraries and through proprietary links to private market data. COMPETITIVE LANDSCAPE ANALYSIS - The competitive landscape is the combination of actual competitors, barriers to entry for the proposed idea or service, an estimate of the difficulty the new idea or service will have establishing in a competitive environment, and identification of those key success factors that need to be addressed to increase the likelihood for success. This analysis is a segmentation of the market analysis that allows the inventor/innovator a view of how difficult market entry might be. INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY SURVEY - Neither Innovation Assessment Service staff nor the staff of the University Center are attorneys and cannot function as such. Intellectual property such as patents, trademarks, and copyrights will be evaluated, however, as possible avenues of value generation for clients' ideas and services. The goal of Innovation Assessment Services and the University Center is to prepare each client to pursue appropriate intellectual property considerations with qualified legal counsel. SUBJECT MATTER EXPERT REVIEW AND FINAL RECOMMENDATIONS - subject matter expert review of the product or service for its feasibility in the marketplace, and the recommendations from the Innovation Assessment Services and University Center staff.


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Phone: (509) 358-7897