• Fireside Chat with Dr Anna Zakrzewska on Technology Commercialization

    November, 30 2023, Noor E Karishma Shaik


    This podcast is aimed at young professionals who want to learn about commercializing technology. Over a series of episodes, we aim to cover key topics such as intellectual property, funding for startups, and marketing strategies. We will also provide practical advice on overcoming common challenges in technology commercialization and building a network of industry contacts. This podcast is organized by IMPACT Blog Team at IEEE Young Professionals in collaboration with IEEE Entrepreneurship Society.


    In this fireside chat, Dr Anna Zakrzewska, technology commercialization expert and recent recipient of the IEEE Theodore W. Hissey Outstanding YP award, shares her insights and experiences in the world of entrepreneurship.

    Dr Anna Zakrzewska

    Anna’s patented cell ID allocation technique and Wi-Fi channel selection method have been widely adopted by major telecom operators worldwide, improving connectivity and quality of experience for millions of users. As a Senior Principal Engineer at Dell Technologies in Dublin, Anna leads the company’s standardization efforts in O-RAN Alliance Workgroup 6 (Cloudification and Orchestration) and Workgroup 10 (OAM) and contributes to network management solutions and projects with external partners. In her previous role, Anna worked as a Research Scientist at Nokia Bell Labs (formerly Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs) in Ireland and has research experience from NTT Communication Science Laboratories as a Vulcanus in Japan scholar and Joint Research Centre in Italy. Her expertise lies in wireless communications, systems engineering, and network management, and she holds several patents in those domains.

    The discussion covers various topics related to the ideation, evaluating market potential, assessing technical feasibility, identifying emerging trends, developing prototypes, involving customers in the ideation process, prioritizing technologies, building partnerships, and balancing profitability with societal and environmental impact. Please listen to the podcast here:

    The important takeaways from this conversation are listed below:

    Ideation Techniques and Market Potential Evaluation

    Dr. Zakrzewska emphasizes the importance of solving the right problem when identifying new technologies to commercialize. She suggests asking critical questions to ensure that the problem being addressed is the right one. When evaluating the market potential, factors such as market size, growth rate, competition, and potential for growth need to be considered. She also advises keeping an open mind and exploring potential use cases that may open up new markets.

    Assessing Technical Feasibility and Developing Prototypes

    Assessing the technical feasibility of a new technology involves considering if it can leave the lab and meet the requirements of potential customers. Dr. Zakrzewska highlights the need to understand real-world conditions and customer needs. Developing prototypes requires perseverance and a willingness to fail fast and learn from failures. The goal is to iterate until a satisfactory prototype is ready for release.

    Involving Customers and Prioritizing Technologies

    Early involvement of potential customers and users in the ideation process is crucial. Understanding their needs and gathering their input helps shape solutions with higher chances of commercialization. When faced with multiple potential technologies, factors such as market size, growth rate, risk, timeline, funding, and manufacturing complexity should be considered. Evaluating the broader market applicability of a technology can also influence the prioritization process.

    Building Partnerships and Balancing Profitability

    Building partnerships between academia, industry, and research institutions requires effective communication and understanding of different priorities. Collaborations can leverage research facilities, industrial knowledge, and diverse perspectives to solve real-world problems. Dr. Zakrzewska emphasizes the importance of making the world a better place while achieving commercial success. Balancing profitability with societal and environmental impact is crucial for sustainable technology commercialization.

    This fireside chat provides valuable insights for aspiring entrepreneurs and researchers interested in technology commercialization. Dr. Zakrzewska’s expertise and experiences offer guidance on navigating the challenges and complexities involved in bringing new technologies to the market.

    Stay tuned for the next episode of the podcast, where the topic of intellectual property (IP) and negotiations between partners will be explored further.

    Article Contribution: Noor E Karishma Shaik (Editor-in-Chief, IEEE YP) is currently working as a Postdoctoral Researcher at University of Melbourne.