A New Perspective on Technology Transfer at CERN - A Case Study in Extreme Tech Push Application Identification
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Scientific research across the globe is advancing the frontiers of our collective pool of knowledge. The results of which are numerous discoveries and inventions in various fields of sciences. Sometimes, these discoveries and inventions are embraced by other industries and implemented there as innovations. Furthermore, different skills are required for different types of innovations. In a technology push setting, incremental innovations can be achieved through exploiting opportunities, while radical innovations can be achieved through exploring opportunities. However, these opportunities have to be detected, and this is done through application identification. Little research has been done to investigate the phenomena of application identification in a technology push context. At CERN, extreme technical solutions are created at a high pace to advance the ongoing fundamental research. Understanding how application identification is approached in such an extreme setting may provide valuable insight into understanding how innovations are born today. To gain more understanding in this field, application identification was investigated at CERN through a qualitative case study of two business units; the Knowledge Transfer group and the IdeaSquare experiment. Altogether, eleven interviews were conducted for this study. Two approaches were uncovered for application identification at CERN. The Knowledge Transfer group exploits, while the IdeaSquare experiment explores to conduct application identification for CERN technologies. The units do not collaborate actively in application identification of CERN technologies, yet they complement each other in a way that can be said to be ambidextrous.