Spin-Offs II

by Hyman Olken



Spin-offs will set the pattern for the technology of the future. An industrial firm must make participation in spin-offs a major activity or be technologically obsolescent in about ten years, in some cases sooner. Despite large expenditures for R&D dissemination services and facilities and aid to technological planning with the U.S. State Technical Services Act (STSA), it will be about ten years before spin-offs have any large-scale effect in civilian industry because it will take that long to develop the large force of new-product scouts and business pioneers needed to effect large-scale technology transfer and it will also take about ten years to develop wide lines of standard component products from the present technological advances. The STSA provides great latitude for carrying out the technology-supporting activities for which it provides funds, and it leaves the carrying out of this act very much in the hands of the state governors. Hence, the control of the operations carried out under this act will become an area of powerful political jockeying within each state between the state economic development agencies, the state university engineering schools, and the state's business schools. And each state's operations under STSA will be slanted to benefit the large or small industrial firms, depending on which group controls these activities.

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