A couple of partners and I founded NuRelm 18 years ago. During that time, we’ve worked with a long list of amazing clients who have taught us more than I can articulate. My gratitude goes out to them all, and I’d like to give a shout-out to one broad group today:
Business innovators and university researchers are a delightful bunch to work with. This may sound like a random combination. After all, aren’t business people and researchers completely different, with one group rushing to close sales while the other ponders the great mysteries of life?
It turns out that these worlds CAN come together. In particular, there’s a trend to get researchers involved in commercializing their ideas. If you don’t believe that, take a look at the University of Pittsburgh’s Innovation Institute, a huge effort at a very large university to do just that.
NuRelm has been working a lot with some of those researchers. For example we recently won a grant (an STTR from the National Institutes of Health) to help young adults get healthier and commercialize the results. Another example in a slightly different world: NuRelm helped a group of bioinformatics researchers build a commercial portal for their algorithm that finds cancer drivers in the genes of tumor cells.
We have also spent a great deal of the last 2 decades helping business innovators build web-based applications, mobile apps, and online stores.
So what are the similarities and the things we love about working in this space?
- Ideas are often at an early stage. Innovators in these spaces come to us with brilliant ideas. We love hooking those ideas into an ecosystem that will get them out into the world. This involves everything from a compelling user interface to the hard work of researching, narrowing down, and interviewing to find the right target market.
- Tend to push the limits of technology. And, of course, getting those ideas into the world involves all of the technology in between, which has been our passion since the start. It’s rare that the path to commercialization doesn’t imply some bold technology decisions in order to do it better than the competition. It’s also rare when that project does not involve at least some brand new technology. NuRelm’s culture is one of learning, so we love that.
- Require the most agile development approach. It’s not good enough to set a trajectory once, develop for two months, then hand over a finished product. Instead, we work closely with our clients and we bend in the wind that blows through the entire innovation process. Don’t do that, and your project will break in those winds.
- “Partner” is more than a buzzword. That agile approach means that while the word “client” is technically correct, that the word “partner” provides a better description. Innovators know there will be twists and turns in the road to success, and that there will be compromise on both sides of a relationship. Just as we put in the extra effort when needed on a project, our client-partners are always willing to listen and respond as the process unfolds.
- Passion. This is my favorite. An innovator is never a cog in a big machine. Innovators have passion and energy, and they always know that what they are creating will make the world a better place. Putting that kind of energy into the world always has an equal and opposite reaction, and it’s the kind of reaction that’s kept us passionate about this work for nearly two decades.