Taking an idea from concept to commercial reality means navigating some tricky steps.
Even when you have strong market interest, funding and an innovative product, success is not guaranteed. Sometimes a fresh perspective, some astute business advice or R&D insights can identify a map to commercial success.
“Many companies who come to us for the first time have the beginnings of a great product or technology and are just looking for financial help to take it further,” says Erin Wansbrough, business innovation group manager, Callaghan Innovation.
“What they often don’t realise at first is that with end-to-end support and help to navigate each step of the complex technology and product development process, they can achieve considerably greater success than otherwise might have been possible.”
When Kiwa Digital, a production house for experiential digital books, first sat down with Callaghan Innovation, they had a product with great potential, some patented intellectual property and the interest of a global film production company.
“Kiwa Digital develops e-books that are more than an electronic representation of text and images – they are interactive, immersive and instructive e-books,” says Steven Renata, global director of business development at Kiwa Digital.
“Our technology is around the functionality as it relates to language – reading with another person, running your finger on the screen and speaking at the same time. We call it ‘swipe to read, touch to listen, double-tap to spell or pronounce’.
“We worked with them to re-examine their thinking,” says Wansborough. “We encouraged Kiwa Digital to take a step back, look at their business model and rearticulate what overall value they could provide. This led to a project with a much broader scope – and one that’s enabled them to strike a lucrative licencing deal with a Chinese television company.”
So what started out as a request for funding support ended in a partnership that has led to Kiwa Digital becoming not only one of the world’s top production houses for digital, experiential books but also using a leading technology provider for the international television and film production sector.
The underlying technology for Kiwa’s e-books is now used for dialogue replacement, including foreign language dialogue, in television and film productions. This substantially reduces the cost and time to convert films to other languages. Voice-Q is used in studios worldwide and has won the prestigious Hollywood Post Alliance Engineering Excellence Award.
“Being able to see the business from a fresh perspective was critical, as well as advice on the importance of moving quickly to take advantage of the opportunities available to us,” says Renata.
He goes on to say that having access to astute commercially-minded people with world-class experience to enhance his team’s capability has been a valuable advantage. “Not only that, but strategic support on our R&D and wider business strategy helped us take a ’bigger picture’ approach to R&D strategy, identifying an R&D roadmap that is transforming our business.
“Partnering with Callaghan Innovation has exceeded my expectations. One of the intangible benefits of working with them was their mentorship approach, the sense that Callaghan Innovation really has your back – they want you to win and they are going to help you win.”
Updated: 4 September 2015