Directing R&D for a Good Cause

Many innovation managers are concerned with the successful transfer of new technology from universities to industries while monitoring and protecting intellectual property. This week IM spoke with Ariadna J. Rodríguez-Diaz who is in charge of the protection of intellectual property in new technologies for education at the School of Engineering at UNAM.

What is innovation management to you?

For me innovation management is a way of conducting and directing research and development to accomplish the real needs of a region, a country, etc. To do R&D not just for scientific reasons, but for solving national problems, and why not? International needs (e.g. food for special needs, for people in poor conditions, renewable energy for 3rd world countries, etc).

What are the most important lessons for an innovation manager to learn?

The most important lesson is to know all the technologies that exist, e.g. process, product, service, production (technology is not always related to TIC’s or to tangible products). The second most important lesson is knowing the difference between them, and to better manage each one. The third most important lesson is to know the cultural issues of each technology; to better know how to deal with each partner in the equation.

Do you think innovation management as a profession is headed in the right direction?

I’m not so sure, I think it depends on what country or region we are talking about, for example in Mexico there is not a profession of Innovation Management. I am Food Chemist and I have a Masters Degree in Technology Management, then I began to work in a Linkage Department where negotiation and transfer of technology was done from the university to the industry. I don’t know if in some other countries there are a profession as itself.

What’s your next big challenge?

To run and manage my own consultancy office in Innovation, Technology Management and Intellectual Property. I am almost there!

About Ariadna Julieta Rodríguez-Diaz:


Ariadna works on the coordination, advocacy and negotiation of science and technology projects for education at the School of Engineering at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM). She is involved in project management from its inception (research and development) to maturity and subsequent technology transfer for educational purposes through negotiation

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