Technology transfers are not new but at the same time, they are often not planned. Some of the true value that resides in advanced engineering programmes isn’t the grand vision of, say, colonizing Mars, but of the technology, knowledge and capability that is developed on the journey. The nature of these programmes are that they push boundaries, ask the difficult question, challenge the status quo – they have to achieve what hasn’t been done before and the by-products are new technologies and capabilities to be taken into other markets and applications.
NASA and ESA provide outstanding examples of pro-active technology transfer from space. NASA’s Spinoff Publication shows how NASA technology is everywhere from GPS signal correction software for agriculture, offshore oil drilling, smartphones and airplane navigation to hardware solutions. A most recent example being a high-pressure, light-weight tank originally designed to store rocket fuel is now being used by pilots, firefighters and intensive care patients holding life-saving oxygen.
NASA has taken this one step further with their Technology Transfer Program, opening up the innovations to the public for use. Ideas are often individually born, innovations come from collaboration, which builds on what came before, diverse ideas, capabilities and more.
MULTIPLY is one of very few private organisations that explores and exploits space technology for their clients into new sectors for new applications often with new business models.
An example of this was earlier this year when the MULTIPLY team transferred thermal management capability designed for a rocket engine into the new market of battery thermal management. In this instance, we worked with a low TRL technology to define a private and public collaboration worth up to £200,000 within 3 months. This is one example of many, and it is as a result of the senior and broad experience and network of the MULTIPLY team, along with our design thinking approach to innovation using the MULTIPLY Framework.
Here at MULTIPLY, we don’t just stumble across new opportunities we pro-actively search for them. Imagine if a pure commercial technology transfer lens was applied to the myriad of space companies and projects – what value could be realised, what step changes in what industries, what national capability, what job creation? That is what we seek to do with our clients every day.