The Chasm Between Science And Business. Do Scientists Embrace Coaching

The Chasm Between Science And Business. Do Scientists Embrace Coaching? 

I want to share something personal with you in this nugget. This nugget stems from my experience as a scientist who cares about commercializing what we invented and developed. That is where I learned about the chasm. I have spent many years since then figuring out better ways to cross that chasm.

Along the way, I came up with Brilliance Mining™ which – among other benefits – gives experts more time for innovation.

Here is a quick video of what I’m talking about (see the transcript below):


I want to share something a bit personal with you in this nugget. You may know that I have received a Ph.D. in Chemistry in the past. I have worked in research and development for quite a few years. For example, I have been part of a team that developed a novel landmine detector and even tested it in Bosnia in 1999, shortly after the attacks on Kosovo. DARPA funded the project. DARPA funds cutting-edge research. 

From this experience, I have learned a thing or two about the chasm that exists between science and R&D on one side and commercialization and bringing what we invent to the marketplace. Where actually gets used, makes an impact, creates reward, namely money. In other words, scientists deserve to get rewarded for their work. 

There is a systematic issue. That is my observation. That issue is that, as scientists:

  • We don’t get training about how to actually cross that chasm. 
  • We have to hope to attract other people into the companies we found to help us do that. 
  • We have to learn how to do this, which involves a lot of trial and error. 

Trust me. I’ve been there. I’ve helped quite a few engineers, scientists, and a lot of other experts who really suffer from the same phenomenon. 

You learn a craft. Whatever that craft is, you become an expert, but they forget to tell you

  • How to market,
  • How to sell yourself, your product, or your service,
  • There is accounting,
  • Financial knowledge, and more

There are so many components they didn’t tell you about in graduate school or whatever school you went to to get the experience you have in your subject matter, in your discipline.

How Coachable Are Scientists and Engineers? 

Well, it depends, but as a whole, I have to tell you that when I first got into research and development, coaching was not on my radar. That’s what I see happening to many scientists and engineers still. Coaching has never really been on their radar. It seems just not very tangible

On the other hand, my experience with Brilliance Mining™ is different. We are talking about pulling knowledge out of someone’s brain, putting it into a system, and making it transferable. Now we’re talking about something that seems more tangible. We can throw our arms around it and say, “Yes. Okay. That makes sense.” 

My Colleague Eric

I’m thinking of my colleague, Eric, for example. He was magnificent at troubleshooting radio-frequency circuits and ensuring that the detectives only detected what there were supposed to rather than noise picked up from a nearby radio station. 

Eric was in such high demand for that skill. The problem was that Eric hardly ever had time for something else he was really good at and passionate about, which was to design new circuits.

His skill in troubleshooting was better than most. In fact, I’ve never met anyone as good at it as he was. It became a handcuff and prevented him from doing some of the other work that he was exceptional at

I believe that is something that scientists and engineers can wrap their minds around a bit more easily than “just” coaching – even though coaching is very important to get us from the development of something to the spot where it can be used. And also we’d like to get paid. 

I’m Curious

  • What is your experience with crossing the “chasm”?
  • What is your experience with coaching?