Business Studies Assignment on Commercialisation Analysis

Coursework Brief
Module code: MSIN0060
Module leader name:
Academic year: 2020-21
Term 1, 2 or 3: Term 1
Nature of assessment – Individual (Commercialisation Analysis)
Content of this coursework Brief
Section Content
A Core information
B Coursework brief and requirements
C Module learning outcomes covered in this
D Assessment of this coursework
E Groupwork instructions (if applicable)
F Additional information from module leader (if
Section A: Core information
This assessment is
marked out of
% weighting of this
assessment within
total module mark
Word count/page
length – maximum
1,500 (pls see note about appendices below)
Footnotes, appendices,
tables, figures,
diagrams, charts
included in/excluded
from word count
Excluded from word count.
(However, please note that the goal is to present a
summarised, synthesised commercialisation analysis. Please
do not work around the need for brevity by over-loading
reference lists included
in/excluded from word
Excluded from word count
Penalty for exceeding
word count/page
Yes – 10 percentage points deduction, capped at 40% for
Levels 4,5, 6, and 50% for Level 7. Refer to Academic Manual
Section 3: Module Assessment – 3.13 Word Counts.
Academic misconduct
(including plagiarism)
Academic Misconduct is defined as any action or attempted
action that may result in a student obtaining an unfair
academic advantage. Refer to Academic Manual Section 9:
Student Academic Misconduct Procedure – 9.2 Definitions.
Submission date
Submission time
Penalty for late
Yes. Refer to Academic Manual Section 3: Module
Assessment – 3.12 Coursework Deadlines & Late Submissions.
Submitting your
The assignment MUST be submitted to the module
submission link located within this module’s Moodle
‘Submissions’ tab by the specified deadline.
Anonymity of identity All assignments are anonymous. Accordingly, no reference to
your name(s) should appear on your submission. Insert only
your UCL ID number(s) and do so on the front cover.
The nature of this assessment is such that anonymity is
Return and status of
marked assignments
At the latest this will be within 4 weeks from the date
of submission but we will endeavour to return it earlier
than this. Assessments are subject to double
marking/scrutiny, and internal quality inspection by a
nominated School of Management internal assessor.
All results when first published are provisional until
confirmed by the relevant External Examiner and the
Examination Board. No appeals regarding your
published mark are available until after confirmation
by that Examination Board.
Section B: Coursework Brief and Requirements
This project is called “Commercialisation Analysis”. That means you select an early-stage idea that might
have entrepreneurial potential, to create social or economic value. You need to explore this idea, and write
up in 1500 words, how this commercialisation could happen. A key concept to think about is feasibility.
A – Summary of Key points for this assignment
The starting point is choosing an early-stage idea (see below for more details). This will be the fun part (1).
Then you explore the context around it, the growth potential, the mechanisms/models that could be used to
test whether it is feasible (2). Then, you write up what you think are the highlights in 1,500 words (3).
Where possible, you could also consider the first steps an entrepreneurial team could take to provide
evidence of progress to a stakeholder.
At every stage of the assignment, you will need to use library and other online resources to explore, to
investigate, and to analyse critically the results of that exploration. You will need to work with your own
uncertainty, as well as the unknowns within the idea itself, and work hard to turn that uncertainty into
knowledge. This is mapping the process that real entrepreneurs do, so don’t expect a linear process!
Selectivity of content
Each idea is different. In some cases, you may decide that the most important aspect in the
commercialisation to explore is ‘finding users’ to whom this is useful. In others, for example where the user
base is obvious, you may be looking more at who will ‘provide the early-stage funding’. Another path may
see you focusing just on the ‘competitors’. Let’s take an example of different scenarios:
Quantum Clock: an early-stage research development, likely to be expensive. How can you identify
users who would need a quantum clock and be prepared to pay for the extra accuracy it provides;
who could fund the next stages, who owns the rights?
Cancer test: a medical team is working on early-stage cancer detection methods. There is clearly a
market for this. We can assume there is a user/customer base (we assume that this will have value).
Instead you could focus on competitors, or competitor ways of detecting cancers; or on the funding
aspects; or intellectual property aspects, or another challenge that faces the team such as expertise.
App for affiliate management: this is a competitive space; affiliate and influencer tools are available
already. So this commercialisation analysis could take a different direction. It could focus on ….What
does this app provide as additional benefit to customers, or how could the makers of the app access
those customers? Or..whatever you consider, after researching, is the key barrier to overcome.
Presentation of the 1500 words
Every idea chosen is different. As such there is no blueprint, or preferred contents list. This is not a market
research report, a strategy analysis or any other off-the-shelf type of management assignment. It is you as
an individual student judging the commercialisation potential of an idea using as much research and learning
from the first part of the course, as you can.
è We will NOT provide blueprints or examples from previous years. Providing examples often results in
students squeezing their ideas into a format that worked for another innovation, and may not be
appropriate for theirs. This is a different assignment for 2020 online teaching than the previous year.
B Detailed Guide to Doing the Commercialisation Analysis:
1. Finding the Idea – The fun part!
You can start this straight away. There are only two determining factors in your choice:
• The idea must have been validated. This means that someone somewhere must have considered
already that this has potential as an innovative idea for new value creation.
• It must be early-stage. In most cases this will be before earning revenue, before being profitable,
before having had substantial funding such as venture capital.
Let’s explain this further by highlighting some possible sources to find ideas:
Technology Transfer Offices: Intellectual Property is often publicised by a University or other research
institute via their tech transfer office (TTO). The organisation is offering up its knowledge assets as a licence,
or for further funding. These TTOs, or Knowledge Transfer offices as they are sometimes called, exist in
Universities around the world. If you’re interested in a particular region or country try first within that
Patent Databases: Listings of patents that are under review, and that have been granted. For example,
Espacenet (Europe) or the US Patent Office. Sometimes the in-country patent office (eg Japanese Patent
Office) provides translated searchable patent listings. You can search either on a topic (“Machine Learning in
Benefits assessment”; or an organisation “ChemChina GMO patents” or “UCL Computer Science” or an
individual (“Professor Newton”). These databases are not that user friendly so keep at it.
Incubators & Accelerators: these contain selected high-potential start-ups, teams or individuals. The
businesses are not always IP-based. They exist in most countries around the world, so explore in a country of
your choice. The UK and US examples such as y-combinator are well known but there are also specialist
organisations for sectors, eg real estate incubators, healthcare or climate change accelerators. Check out
TechStars London 2020 choices as a starting point here. There are hubs all over the world, so look far afield.
African countries such as Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa have growing networks, India’s epicentres are well
known for tech innovation but many are also attached to research organisations. Use your imagination and
the library!
Innovation-related websites & Competitions: worldwide there are competitions run by companies and
governments that seek out Innovations. The results of these – eg there have been many that seek Covidrelated solutions in recent months for example – often draw up interesting ideas.
Crowdfunding sites: such as Seedrs can display interesting start-ups.
Media: the innovation-related media can focus on the latest breakthrough, the cutting-edge technologies,
that are interesting but can be challenging to research for this project. The technical or trade press for a
sector can be helpful to explore.
2. Researching the idea
Each project is different. The research could take you in a number of different directions. Below are two
scenarios that take different paths. They reveal the sorts of Questions you could ask yourself as you are
exploring, that will help you test the idea. Please look at the Library Slides in the resources section that give
you a guide to searching the UCL libraries in the entrepreneurship spaces.
Possible line of research: Finding applications & practices that could use this innovation
One useful set of questions to ask is What exactly is the innovation – can you summarise or
synthesise exactly what it is that the innovation allows someone somewhere to do? (Answering these
questions takes research and investigation).
Identifying practices that could use this should then come out of this investigation. Who will use the end
product, process or service? And are they also the buyers?
For most innovations chosen, it is not possible to answer all these questions. Part of the task is to prioritise
the important parts in the commercialisation story – that may be around the competitors, changes in
behaviour, relative costs, manufacture etc.
Possible line of research: Explore dynamics in the ecosystem
This overlaps with finding applications above but looks more at what is going on around the innovation/idea.
If for example your innovation is around introducing a new form of sandwich packaging made of banana
leaves into the Malaysian economy…. There are competitor sandwich packages available; there is national
regulation about materials for sandwich packaging, manufacturing equipment issues; customer preferences,
supply & distribution; institutions that could help fund an innovative sandwich package development, and
more. Overall you are looking at the specific environment in Malaysia, and how the innovation interacts –
positively or negatively – with the environment.
You do not have to answer all or even most of the issues above, but you should aim to identify what you
consider to be the important drivers within the ecosystem around the innovation.
To summarise –
Try to research by asking Questions* of your chosen idea…and keeping a note of what you don’t know.
Sometimes the unknown spaces – where there is little information – are the most interesting.
Just to recap on what we mean by some of the terms here:
Functionality: What is the innovation, what does it do?
Practice: How can it be used? What are the existing and future applications, what benefits does it
deliver to the user/customer above what is currently used?
Dynamics: for example, who pays, where do the competitors fit in, how is this task currently done,
what behaviours need to change, what is the national context, the socio-economic drivers.
(*you should not aim to answer all these, but think about the ones that seem important to you)
3 Writing the 1500 words
• The word count for this assignment is short. Therefore, your task is first to do lots of research &
investigation, then summarise what YOU think are the key points to highlight. You might write only
50 words on one dimension that you’ve done 2 days’ research on. You will have to select carefully
the key points to make. These key points may not correlate with the depth or breadth of what you
have worked on.
• You will need to work hard on making this clear, accessible and selective.
• Think of the argument you want to make, test your assumptions, ask yourself how relevant that
piece of information is. Think… have you analysed what you have found, or are you just presenting a
nicely-curated collection of information.
• We can help advise on this process in Office Hours.
• We will practice some of these analytical skills in Seminars.
Section C: Module Learning Outcomes covered in this Assignment
The learning outcomes of this assignment are to understand more about:
• The processes by which entrepreneurs build value around opportunity
• How the context or environment interacts positively and negatively with the idea
• The global variance in this interaction and the factors affecting
• How expressions of “value” are constructed by stakeholders
• What are the priority tests of feasibility for a specific innovation in a particular
• identifying the stakeholder system around an entrepreneurial idea
Section D: Assessment of this Coursework
The following Mark Scheme can be used as a general guide:
Clarity (20%): Is it clear what this innovation does? has the student laid out enough background such that
the reader can understand the key points being made? are these points specific enough to this particular
innovation? has there been careful-enough selection of material? has the student made meaning of the
complexity in a clear way?
Research (25%): is there evidence of focused, deep research into a variety of evidence sources that are
important for this innovation/idea? Are these presented in such a way that they aid the reader’s
understanding of the conclusions drawn by the student?
System factors (20%): has the student identified a set of appropriate system dynamics such as – regulatory
constraints, behaviours, reputation, competitive environment, cultures, practices, geographical, regional or
historical factors? Are these explained in such a way that the reader can see what has been identified as the
important system elements around this innovation, in a particular setting?
Analysis (25%): is there evidence of analysis, of bringing together the research work into something
meaningful and coherent? Is there critique, have assumptions been identified, is there a distinction between
what is known and what is unknown? Does the work appear rigorous, show evidence of critical thinking and
provide back-up for opinions stated?
Conclusion (10%): do the 1500 words presented allow the reader to see thoughtful conclusions that follow
from the research presented and the analysis of that research? If there is an overall conclusion, or
suggestion of next steps, or reflections, are these concluding statements coherent with the prior material
Notes on Assessment Criteria:
• You will notice that this marking scheme prioritises your input (eg analysis) rather than creating
something that is “right”. There is no one right presentation for this assignment.
• Doing well on this requires research. Use the UCL library. Entrepreneurial ideas are often difficult to
research because they are new. We understand this limitation. Use your imagination in finding
sources to validate or invalidate the idea you are working with.
• Our advice is to explore the topic in depth, asking many questions, then select your strategy for
writing it up after. This will probably mean not using all your material.
• You will spend as much time on constructing and writing the assignment as on researching. The
word limit is short, bear this in mind.
• Please note that this mark scheme does not equal a contents list
You are advised to refer to the UCL Assessment Criteria Guidelines, located at
Within each section of this coursework you may also be assessed on the following aspects, as applicable and
appropriate to this particular assessment, and should thus consider these aspects when fulfilling the
requirements of each section:
• Structure and coherence of your considerations;
• Appropriate and relevant use of, as and where relevant and appropriate, real world
examples, interviews, academic materials and referenced sources.
• Any references should use either the Harvard OR Vancouver referencing system (see References,
Citations and Avoiding Plagiarism)
• Academic judgement regarding the blend of scope, thrust and communication of ideas, contentions,
evidence, knowledge, arguments, conclusions is important in this individual project
• Since this assessment is based on an individual student’s choice of innovation, there are many
expressions of feasibility that can be considered suitable to discuss in this assessment.
• Reminder: There is no ‘one correct way’ to explore the innovation. It is to some extent the student’s
choice to prioritise key dimensions of the commercialisation