Overcoming Barriers to Innovation and IP Creation – PART 5: FINDING BUDGET  

POSTED BY Jed Cahill AT 8:02 A.M. June 19, 2012

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Beginning In our work we observe many barriers to innovation and IP development.  The barriers cut across industries and technologies, and they hinder value creation for large and small companies alike.

The innovation and IP leader who is able to overcome the barriers has an opportunity to advance the company’s competitive position with better products and services, faster time to market, more efficient operations, stronger IP, and the resilience necessary to respond to rapidly changing market conditions and critical business problems.

The first step in overcoming your company’s barriers to innovation and IP development is to recognize that the barriers exist and audit the organization to define them.  Below are some of the most common and impactful barriers that we observe in our work.  The list is not meant to be exhaustive, but it touches on issues many innovation and IP leaders can relate to in some way.

  1. No clear direction
  2. No way to measure success
  3. No defined process
  4. No motivation
  5. No resources or budget

This final article in a series of five on this subject explores ideas for overcoming the fifth barrier listed above – having no resources or budget.  (Use the hyperlinks above to navigate to any of the first four articles in the series.)

Strategy is only as valuable as your ability to execute – an imperfect strategy that is well executed will generate much higher returns than a glossy white paper strategy that is poorly executed.  As we explored in the third article, having a dedicated innovation or IP leader  responsible for managing execution according to a documented process is essential for putting strategy into action.  The fourth article stressed the importance of establishing a value-driven reward and recognition program to motivate alignment of day-to-day innovation and IP activities with the strategic direction.  But even a well-defined strategy and execution plan owned by experienced innovation and IP leaders and supported by a motivated team won’t produce value without the right investment of time and money.

So, how can you obtain enough budget and resources to drive innovation and IP development?

The key is effective executive communication.  We have found that the majority of innovation and IP teams who struggle to find enough time and money to support their initiatives lack internal buy-in on the value proposition.  There should be no reason why executive management wouldn’t allocate enough resources and cash to innovation and IP if they believed that the potential ROI for shareholders exceeded that of other projects with similar funding needs.

IP teams especially need to put forth a much greater effort in communicating the value proposition and business case for their projects than their counterparts across other functional areas of the organization. If executive managers aren’t freeing up enough resources, perhaps it’s because they haven’t heard the right pitch.  Or, perhaps they don’t understand how you will measure the value of the resulting intangible assets to show ROI.  As shown in the graphic below, an effective “ROI story” communicated to executives can help you obtain dedicated budget to invest in staff, infrastructure, and tools needed to drive your innovation and IP initiatives.  The same “ROI story” can also be used to support fundraising with investors who are interested in increasing the value of the company through new innovation backed by a strategic IP portfolio – thus expanding available budget pools for initiatives.

What are the elements of an effective “ROI story”?

  1. Clearly-articulated innovation and IP strategy based on competitive intelligence
  2. Execution plan with process owners and milestones
  3. Success metrics
  4. Risk-adjusted estimate of the business value that will be created
  5. Detailed analysis of the investment required for effective execution of the strategy.

IP Creation Budget

Back to previous articles in the series:

  1. No clear direction
  2. No way to measure success
  3. No defined process
  4. No motivation

TAGS: Innovation | Jed Cahill | Process