If you are fortunate enough to have technology leadership, there are many things you can do. Some of those are:
1.Use it to establish your brand
If you have a new technology, do not be afraid to brag about it. Use it to differentiate your brand. That was what Hyflux did with HVM membrane filtration. Huflux was not the biggest nor the oldest water treatment company when it entered the market. But its technology leadership allowed it to become a strong brand in a short span of time.
Remember those model water filter you built in the science lab in school? Different sections attached to filters. The first had rocks to filter out coarse abd by another to filter sand. Finally, there was a paper filter. Water treatment plants are somewhat similar, but built on a much larg scale. Hence, construction takes long time. They cost a lot of money too. Membranes are very thin and can filter out microscopic particles very efficiently. But their main advantage is their thinness allows the company to build smaller hence built more quickly. Both ultimately led to substantial cost savings for Hyflux clients.
Hyflux used technology leadership to become a very strong brand despite having to face a much established brand such as Danyen and Darco in the market.
2. Use it to sell your company
Companies with innovative technology are very attractive buy for large companies. Why can’t these big companies develop the same technology? They can, but it takes time. And it takes money. Some time its cheaper to acquire another companies than to have a technology built. You can use technology leadership to build a brand or to sell the company.
Sometimes, its difficult for some companies to have cutting edge technology to build a brand. The technology may be awesome but the company may not have marketing expertise, funding and distribution channel etc. make sure you get good price for it as you have put a lot of efforts, money, sweat and tears into the development of technology that you have.
3.License the technology
There are two science – pure and applied. There are two types of companies- those good at developing technology, and those skilled in commercial application of the technology. So if you are the former type who is not so good at applying it to commercial purpose I suggest you license your technology to other companies. You should know what is your science.
Creative technology is one of those companies that would have gone with the licensing model. Creative Technology beat Apple into the MP3 market by about 18 months. But Apple’s red hot ipod thoroughly trounced Creative’s MP3 players in the global market. However, Creative discovered in 2006 that Apple actually used a navigation system that infringed on one of its patents. Creative sued and eventually was awarded US$100 Million by the Federal Court in the US.
I have a lot of respect for Creative. When it was focused on selling its inventions such as the sound card to other companies, it was doing well. But I don’t feel Creative has what it takes to win in the customer market. That is very different ball game all together. So, it night make sense for Creative to focus on what it does best – developing new technologies, with it can then license out to other players.