The leader of our commercialisation team, Werner van der Merwe, shares his tips for innovation ahead of the 4th season of Australia by Design: Innovations.

Who better to sit on the judging panel of a show focussed on celebrating Australian innovation and design than a member of our very own expert commercialisation team?

Reminiscent of popular shows such as Beyond 2000 and The New Inventors, Australia By Design: Innovations features 10 amazing innovations each episode for seven weeks. The show’s expert panel of judges decide which innovation will be declared Australia’s top innovation of the year.

Bringing the commercialisation of innovation expertise

Given our commercialisation team’s expertise lie in connecting technology and innovation to new markets, our commercialisation team leader, Werner van der Merwe, was invited to be a part of this season’s panel.

Werner said that while he spends his days helping our researchers commercialise their science and technology, it was definitely a different experience to sit on the judging panel.

“Our commercialisation and business development teams lead the organisation’s transactions in licensing, spinouts, start-ups, joint ventures and assignments. Over time, our technology has helped start more than 180 companies,” Werner said.

“Being part of this series was a great reminder that there is a lot of opportunity for innovation in Australia and many businesses and individuals are looking for ways to innovate.

“I was reminded of the value that science can contribute to new innovations.

“It’s not enough to have a good idea. As the innovators featured on the show are finding out – it takes a lot more than a good idea to get something to the market and commercialise successfully,” he said.

A male expert in commercialising innovation in a suit smiling at the camera

Werner van der Merwe is taking his expertise in commercialising innovation to this season’s Australia by Design: Innovations on Channel 10.

Werner’s top tips for innovation

Our researchers can sometimes spend years maturing a technology’s readiness level. Werner offered these tips for anyone interested in commercialising their own innovative idea.

Meet a gap in the market

If the market doesn’t see the need for your innovation there is a high chance that it will fail. Before you start developing your idea further, take some time to explore the competition and who will be your potential customers. At the end of the day, a business needs to sell a product or service for more than it costs to make it.

Demonstrate that your idea works

Work out how to get your idea off paper. You may have to tweak your idea once it’s in a real-world setting. There are many factors that may influence your initial idea. Can you scale up production? How will you manage distribution? How much money will it take? And who will lead the business? All are important questions to answer during the commercialisation process.

Plan to make an impact

Make sure you have planned your commercialising innovation pathway. What is the value proposition for your innovation (why should people use your product or service over a competitor)? What is the best route to market? Do you plan on setting up a start-up? Or do you plan on licensing your intellectual property?

Connect with the right partners – don’t go it alone

It’s important to know who can help you bring your idea to market. If you’re a start-up or an SME it can be tricky to know where to start. The golden thread through some of CSIRO’s most successful commercialisation activities is the ability to build mutually beneficial partnerships.

Innovation inspiration

Inspired by our commercialising innovation tips? If you need some more inspiration to bring an innovative idea to market you can catch Australia by Design: Innovations every Saturday at 2.30pm from 30 January until 20 March on Channel 10. And, if you loved last season with our very own Toni Moate, then this will be right up your alley!



    1. Far, far lower for those startups who write in ALL CAPS I’ve heard.

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