Workshop Talk

The Nanotechnology Adventurers: "Charging in to the Valley of death?"

Dr. Sanjeev Kaushal

December 14, 2008, 2.15PM - 5.15PM

Although nanotechnology is attracting significant investment from business, government and academia, uncertainty about the potential markets, business models and applications remain. Successful navigation of this highly risky new terrain relies on pioneering a new management approach.

 The purpose of this talk is to show that the success of nanotechnology projects, and its current concomitant phase of tech-spending in the global economy, depends not only on the technological strength of the invention pipeline but also on establishing a complementary systematic management approach. Reliance on creating excitement over individual inventions, or a belief in their technological uniqueness, while necessary, is insufficient to bring new products to the market. Certain individuals may make profitable transactions in the resulting hype, but overall the valley of death looms deeper and longer ahead. Sound management principles and techniques are needed to be undertaken. None of the proposed techniques are completely new; there exist readily available tools and methodologies for their application. Our current emphasis is towards more practical considerations rather than 'difficult to achieve' theory. Flexible business models for pro-active and rapid organizational, technological, and marketing changes will be necessary. Furthermore, it is necessary to map the entire business system needed to capture the value of the nanotechnology innovation and not just the technology supply chain required to produce the product. I have deliberately preferred the 'Valley of Death' metaphor to that of Darwin's sea. There is no room for evolutionary trial and error, certainly from the perspective of the individual entrepreneurial team, as a wrong decision can be fatal. The 'Valley of Death' is a place where the entrepreneurial team should minimize its stay. The best strategy is to charge across it, not with foolhardy bravado but with sophisticated management and carefully planned timing.

About the Speaker

Dr. Sanjeev K. Kaushal is the VP for Corporate Technology and Business Development at Tokyo Electron Limited (TEL), one of the largest multinational semiconductor equipment manufacturing companies. At TEL, Sanjeev is responsible for identifying and nurturing core strategic technologies vital to the near and long term (> 20 years) interests of the company. He is responsible for incorporating emerging technologies such as spin based electronics, 3D device fabrication, CNT fabrication, MEMS, wireless sensors, and MRAM into TEL product lines.

 Sanjeev successfully created, developed, and incorporated the highly successful concepts of CD optimizer and adaptive real time temperature control into TEL product lines. He successfully established TEL's Santa Clara Laboratory in California and established several attractive partnerships with UC Berkeley, Stanford, MIT, Sandia Labs, IMEC (Belgium), Fraunhofer Institute (Germany), and Imperial College (UK) to advance semiconductor manufacturing materials, tools, and processes. Sanjeev pioneered and championed the concept of intelligent manufacturing tools at the Santa Clara Labs using intelligent/autonomous adaptive techniques. Currently, Sanjeev is challenging himself to develop TEL's business development and research strategy for TEL India - a new organization to be based in India.

 Dr. Kaushal graduated with a BS/MS in Electronics and Communication from the University of Delhi in 1988/90 where he received the "Shanti Devi Bhargawa" Gold medal. Sanjeev then completed his MS and Ph.D from Iowa State University (Ames, Iowa, USA) with an emphasis on Microelectronics and Device Fabrication where he received the Iowa State outstanding research excellence award. Sanjeev was a visiting research faculty member at the University of Texas Austin from 1998 to 2005. Sanjeev has over thirty assigned/in-process patents to his name and has published several (over fifty) papers and reports at prestigious conferences, magazines, and peer reviewed journals.