Linking Ideas & Innovation

BRIDGING SERVICES: The Knowledge Vine – Your Questions Answered

The Knowledge Vine The iBridge Network is leading the North American Group of The Knowledge Vine, a networking system that has been operating very successfully since October 2006, starting in the UK, but progressively expanding to over 35 countries internationally. It is simple, powerful, informal and free.

Similar to a standard list-serve, the system is equivalent to “word of mouth”; it connects university technology transfer professionals, consultants, technology investors, patent agents, industry professionals and SME support professionals connected with commercializing intellectual property.

The Knowledge Vine is a proven, effective tool that gives professionals in this sector easy access to the experience, knowledge or contacts of others in the community. Users have been surveyed twice on the effectiveness of the system. The overwhelming response was that the relevance, quality and speed of of the replies were extremely high. Users also get great value out of seeing the questions as it encourages connections when synergies are identified:

  • “I have tested the network with my first question. It is wonderful! I got 7 answers in an hour! Thanks!”
  • “On the occasions I have used the network, I have found that the leads I have been given have been very useful and have come through promptly”
  • “The Knowledge Vine gives a simple and easy solution.”

How it works

To use the system, users write a request in the form of a single sentence question to a central email address for the members of the group. The request email is then immediately forwarded to group members. If someone on the network has the knowledge or information you seek, they will reply directly back to you by email. When posting a request to the group, users typically receive 5-15 replies, sometimes even more, either with the information that they need, or suggesting whom they might be able to contact for the answer.

Some typical questions:

  • Does anyone have a good contact for technology licensing at Philips Semiconductor?
  • Does anyone have any good licensing agents/broker contacts in Taiwan or Japan?
  • Does anyone have any IP for protein manufacture, as we have some IP we are looking to strengthen or bundle with?
  • Does anyone have any market data or market trend information on the blood glucose testing market?
  • Does anyone know a good market research specialist in teh environmental sector?

The Rules:

  1. Only one sentence allowed – this forces the requester to communicate very clearly
  2. The sentence must be a question
  3. Only reply to the person making the request (no one else cares!)
  4. No offers, promotions, or advertising

The rules make the service distinctly different and much more effective than other email and web-based tools. Because of the simplicity of the postings, the only traffic users see is occasional single sentence emails in their in-box. Because they are written in a very clear communication style they are easy and very quick to read.

How to join

You can join directly at – just register on the site, activate your account, and then browse and join the group. The site hosts a number of other technology-related Knowledge Vine networks, all openly accessible to you and resulting in a large set of other free knowledge resources. You can access other groups (e.g., Australasia, UK and others) simply by posting an email to the appropriate email address; you DON’T need to join other groups to get value out of them!

The North American Group is being lead by the iBridge Network, and supported by UMIP (The university of Manchester Intellectual Property Ltd).

For further information contact:

Laura Paglione

The Knowledge Vine Credits

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William Garner, M.D., MPH – CEO of Urigen, N.A., Inc.

"The iBridge Network provides an important additional pathway for entrepreneurs to access university innovations that may otherwise have been lost.  read more...