As innovation consultants, we have a front row seat to watch (and help) companies learn how to be innovative. We've seen a lot of companies take a variety of approaches to innovation. One of the most common we see is what we call the "ad hoc" approach. This is a fancy way of saying "let's invent something and then see if we can sell it!" Although this approach is very common, it very rarely works well. We have a better approach. See how we helped a company in the health care industry apply four fundamental ingredients for a successful innovation strategy.
To say that the healthcare industry is under intense pressure to change is an obvious understatement. But in a large and mature industry how do we begin to understand the scope and scale of the change needed? Working with our clients, and a review of the literature has made it clear that there are three broad areas that can provide a framework for change.
While the Internet of Things (IoT) is not new, we are now seeing the refinement of the devices, communication protocols, and data management that was not possible a few years ago. There is a forthcoming convergence of multiple product and technology spaces in this this new world of a predicted 50 billion "things," and the possibility for growth in markets and IP are enormous. IoT is a wide-ranging technological space. So we are publishing a short series on IoT and intellectual property (IP) to highlight some opportunities and challenges that we see, beyond the standard scope of everyday articles being circulated.
One of the complex problems that we have been focusing on recently is how to make innovation more successful. We measure innovation success as a combination of both the number of new innovations and the rate of successful implementation. Innovation without implementation serves neither a company nor its customers. From our work with clients we have concluded that there are four major elements necessary to have any chance of creating focused, implementable innovation that meets your business needs: The Four Pillars.
The Apple Watch is, as usual for Apple, a trailblazing product that not only showcases a new product, but opens up a path to grow a new area of technology. It is also another example of true innovation struggling against internal and external forces, all of which try to hamper innovation, harming sales and damaging the development of exciting technology. As with other examples, the Watch is proof that process is just as important as the innovation when it comes to implementing great ideas.
Based on recent trends, we expect an increase in strategic focus on design patents, which will likely include an influx of new design applications into the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO), as well as other patent offices around the world. Here are the key reasons why we are advising our clients to increase their focus on design patents.
The recently concluded and highly publicized patent infringement trial between Apple and Samsung was significant because design patents have long been seen as less valuable and less strategic than utility patents. In reality, design patents do have strategic value, especially when used within the context of an overall IP strategy.
Over the past year, ipCapital Group has seen a dramatic increase in requests to value IP portfolios. The engagements range from advising on high-profile deals to supporting capital raises for small, private companies who have few assets other than IP. We continue to use these experiences and lessons as feedback to our methodology, which is critical as the landscape evolves. In our latest video, we highlight a few of those lessons.
For patents specifically, the best IP strategy for China balances the use of both Utility Model and Invention patents. For a comprehensive IP strategy, foreign companies should not just look at the term of protection and assume that Invention patents offer all the protection they need. Companies should use the full range of IP protections including not just patents but also trade secrets and know-how, black boxes, and defensive publications.
This final article in a series of five on barriers to innovation and IP creation explores ideas for overcoming having no resources or budget. Learn how 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.
Having a dedicated innovation or IP leader responsible for managing execution according to a documented process is essential for putting strategy into action. But even a well-defined strategy and process and won’t run itself. People make the strategy go. So, how can you help your organization motivate action by the teams and individuals needed to achieve your innovation and IP goals? How can you incentivize value creation?
Great innovation is not just about great ideas. To get new ideas off the ground, you need executive buy-in and funding. You can increase the likelihood of success by building the executive buy-in for the innovation process, and by knowing what the CEO and other stakeholders are seeking in order to approve and fund your ideas. Here's how you can find great new ideas and establish rigor in the process that will win support and funding.
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. So, how can you help your organization turn innovation and IP strategy into business value? This third article in a series of five on this subject explores ideas for overcoming the barrier of having no defined process.
Establishing a clear direction for innovation and IP creation starts with consensus on an overall corporate strategy that defines the vision, specific business goals, and tactical actions that serve the vision and goals. Unfortunately, Executive and Board level consensus on the strategy is not enough.
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.
In the September issue of Intellectual Property Magazine, Kate Shore discusses how to address IP issues before the relationship to help create a culture of co-invention and collaboration, how to rev up your innovation engine to generate many potential inventions, and ways to maximize the value of the inventions created for both parties.
If your R&D department is like most, you have very creative people working diligently to solve problems. However, you may wonder why you don't see more invention disclosures coming from such bright, creative people.
Comparables are vital to determining what the market would likely pay for a company, technology, or Intellectual Property (IP) asset. While the market value is not necessarily what the asset is worth to your company, it gives you an idea of what competitors may be willing to pay and can provide insight that will inform your bidding strategy.
A Triangulation Approach to valuation looks at value in three ways: 1) modeling the value that the technology and IP provides for your company's intended use; 2) reviewing, risk-adjusting and use-adjusting the target's valuation, and 3) understanding market comparables.
As has been shown, ICM processes are needed to successfully execute the IP strategy. If a company does not have all the processes needed, or needs to improve their processes they typically call upon outside experts in the field to help. This can be very helpful by comparing with best practices in the industry.
Organizations that do not use the IP strategy reviewing process generally file patent applications on everything that is deemed patentable coming from the R&D staff. There is no one "minding the store" to ensure that the IP strategy is followed. This is a very expensive way to create a low-value patent portfolio!
Documenting is an important step on the path to successful execution of IP strategy, however inventors are often more interested in solving technical problems and inventing than in documenting their inventions.
Facilitating invention, acquiring technology and IP from outside the company, and inventing around patents are key processes for creating and acquiring IP. Many companies have adopted the best practices of conducting proactive invention extraction sessions and directed invention brainstorming.
The first step in implementing IP strategy is to thoroughly evaluate which processes you have that are working well and which processes are absent or are not yielding the desired results. It is important for a company to consider the best practices used by other IP leaders, both inside the company's industry as well as in other industries.
Good preparation for a patent search can lead to successful and effective patent analysis, whereas the lack of preparation can lead to the disappointed stakeholders, missed IP opportunities, or wasted time.
Intellectual property (IP), such as a patent portfolio, is a critical intangible asset for innovative companies. However, IP presents management and communication challenges because few companies catalog their IP strategically or link its development to value creation, i.e. increased revenues or decreased costs.
Whether a company uses its IP offensively or defensively, a company's investment in IP strategy can be implemented cost-effectively in both the short and long term. Four practices to consider are: an IP portfolio audit, strategic foreign filings, defensive publications, and strategic portfolio development.
"It is only a matter of time before the integration of IP and product development becomes part of the mainstream business process. Companies have to decide whether they want to be leaders or laggards as this happens." John Cronin, Managing Director & Chairman of ipCG, and Brad Goldense President and CEO of Goldense Group, Inc. are the authors of "Integral IAM and new product processes are the future," published in the November/December 2009 issue of IAM Magazine. Their article stresses the importance of becoming an early adopter to the growing trend of merging intellectual property and business goals.
Small companies can face large financial hurdles on the way to securing intellectual property (IP) protection, particularly with patents. Accumulated patent lifecycle costs can exceed $125,000 for one US & one PCT filing. This cost may include prior art searching, patent drafting, patent prosecution, and maintenance fees.
Any company that files patents as part of its intellectual property (IP) strategy should be actively thinking about the end use of these assets. In order to maximize business leverage, a patent holder must be able to demonstrate that a third party is using or may have a desire to use the patented invention.
Is your company planning to layoff employees in response to a tougher economic environment? Do you have a process for preventing valuable intellectual assets from walking out the door along with your exiting employees?
In a recent article, "Is
the recession suffocating American Innovation?," Deb Riechmann of
the Associated Press describes some trends that may be negatively impacting
the success of innovation in the US. There has been a decline in the new patent
applications at the US Patent and Trademark Office because some companies...