Invent Anything™ Podcast

Invent Anything™ with John Cronin. In this series, John shares insights relating to invention, creativity, and intellectual property collected over 17 years at IBM (becoming its top inventor with over 100 patents and 150 patent publications) and 23 years as managing director of ipCapital Group (working with over 800 companies and approximately 15% of the Fortune 500, hundreds of mid-size companies and hundreds of startups and governmental laboratories).

Here are just a few of the topics covered in this show:

  • How to create inventions that are new, useful, and non-obvious
  • Using creativity tools to solve problems in business and innovation
  • Ways to build or strengthen an intellectual property portfolio strategically
  • Why you want to keep patents and trade secrets as an employee, manager, or executive
  • Generating value from your IP through licensing, sale, fundraising, asset-based lending, and acquisitions
  • How to create a culture of innovation at your company
  • Current Events related to invention and intellectual property
  • And much more

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Episode 1 – Invention, Creativity, and Intellectual Property

TUES., FEB 16, 2021 – In the introductory episode, John discusses his background, topics that will be covered in future episodes, and his motivations for starting the series. Also discussed are different points of view on IP issues, from the employees, managers, executives, and IP attorneys. You can also read the transcript here.

Episode 2 – The Fundamentals of Creativity for Invention

TUES., FEB 23, 2021 – In this episode, John explains the fundamental ideas that underpin any creative process. Topics discussed include:

  • Types of creative motivation (extrinsic and intrinsic),
  • The effect of limitations and freedom,
  • Self-assessment of creativity,
  • How to become more creative,
  • How to motivate others to be more creative,
  • And much more…

You can also read the transcript here.

Episode 3 – Types of Creativity: Divergent and Convergent


TUES., MAR 2, 2021 – In the third installment, John discusses two major types of creativity: divergent and convergent. Divergent creativity is the process of creating a variety of many new ideas. Convergent creativity is the process of narrowing down the list to a few valuable ideas. Additional topics discussed in this episode:

  • Alex Osborn and brainstorming
  • Tony Buzan and mind maps
  • Guidelines for Divergent and Convert creativity
  • Management styles that may kill creativity
  • Creativity tools for individuals, groups, and ‘secret facilitators’
  • Differences in creativity for introverts and extroverts
  • and much more…

You can also read the transcript here.

Some of this material, including the divergent/convergent guidelines, was inspired by the work of others, see links below:

Learnexia – Principals of Divergent Thinking

Creative Education Foundation – What is Creative Problem Solving

Patent Infringement – Strategy

TUES., MARCH 9, 2021 – John takes on the difficult topic of what you should do when you learn you are violating a competitors patent. Patent infringement is a major threat to a business. Delving into 5 Areas of concern with 20 actions you can take to be prepared for a patent infringement lawsuit. Learn what you can do to sleep better at night, avoid willful infringement, challenge the patent, protect the future of your business, and get ready for war in the courtroom. Read the transcript here.

Episode 4 – Types of Creativity: Associative Thinking

TUES., MARCH 16, 2021 – Associative thinking is one of the most power creative tools for inventors. By combining different objects, ideas, and methods, new inventions can be made by making novel connections with your mind. In this episode, John provides detailed examples and several tools you can use to unleash the power of associative thinking. Some of these tools can be used like games, fun for kids and adults. Other tools might help you determine what type of stimulus makes you more creative. Read the transcript here.

Episode 5 – Types of Creativity: Continuous Improvement

TUES., MARCH 23, 2021 – How can you take an invention from the early idea stage to something that will work and have value? In this episode, John discusses many tools that can be used for continuous improvement thinking. By using a methodological approach to identify areas where an invention needs improvement, teams and individuals can use several tools to continuously improve ideas.

  • Tool 1 – Action, Owner, Date
  • Tool 2 – Input / Output
  • Tool 3 – Brain Writing
  • Tool 4 – S.C.A.M.P.E.R.
  • Tool 5 – Opposites

By mastering these tools, you can take any idea to the next level with many improvements.

Episode 6 – Enablement for Patents and Intellectual Property

TUES., MARCH 30, 2021 – In this episode, John discusses the technical details behind the process of ‘enablement’ – taking the invention from the conceptual stage to describing how it will work in practice. Topics covered include the many perspectives – from manager buy-in, to patent attorneys and patent examiners. In the conclusion, John discusses enablement in terms of an actual patent for a practical example.

Link to Patent Discussed in the video:

For more information see:

Episode 7 – What is a Patent (and what can it do for you)

TUES., APRIL 6, 2021 – If you’ve ever wondered what a patent really is, the rights that it gives you, and what they mean for your business, you’re in the right place. John discusses why patents are a ‘negative right’, dispels some common patent myths, and explains the true value of patents to individuals and businesses.

Episode 8 – How to Get a Patent On Your Invention

WED., MAY 12, 2021 – In this episode, John discusses how to get a patent on your invention. This episode covers everything you need to know to get your first patent. You’ll learn how to choose a patent attorney or a patent agent, how to prepare you invention for patent documentation, how to ensure your application will be granted, and how to get the most out of your investment in intellectual property. Additional topics in this episode include:

  • Patent trapdoors – what can go wrong when you file for a patent?
  • Office actions – Working with your patent attorney to answer rejections from the examiner
  • Continuations and divisional patent applications – decisions to make when you receive a notice of allowance
  • Patent filing fees – how to get the most out of your IP budget

Episode 9 – How to raise money and increase valuation using IP

THU., MAY 20, 2021 – In this episode, we will discuss raising more money at a higher valuation using intellectual property. CEOs, founders, CTOs, etc. who are considering raising money may consider using a unique strategy of leveraging IP to tell a better story to investors. We will discuss the meaning of intellectual property followed by the six ways to monetize intellectual property. We will answer the following questions related to IP and fundraising:

  • How to determine the value of your IP?
  • Why do investors consider IP valuable?
  • Why should I invest in patents as the CEO?
  • How to assess your current IP position?
  • How can you expand your IP positions beyond that so investors can take notice?
  • How many patents do you need?
  • How to tell investors an IP story to help me raise money?

Episode 10 – 6 Ways of Making Money with Patents

TUE., MAY 25, 2021 – In this episode, we will learn the six ways to make money with patents. Patents are expensive to obtain, and many inventors and executives want to maximize their ROI from intellectual property. Depending on your situation, one or more specific approaches to earning income from your patents may be appropriate. We will reveal novel strategies to help you get the most out of your patent portfolio with several paths to monetization. These paths include:

  1. Litigation
  2. Licensing
  3. How to get more money out of gross margins
  4. Enhancing brand value and marketing using patents
  5. Contractual Value and Transaction Leverage
  6. How to price in the value of IP into the stock of your company

Episode 11 – Using Trade Secrets to Create Tremendous Value

In this episode, John unveils the power of trade secrets for your business. This episode answers questions like: what are trade secrets? How do you protect trade secrets? How to leverage trade secrets in business? And even, how to create new trade secrets for your business.

The topic areas include:

  1. Defining Trade Secrets
  2. How to protect trade secrets
  3. Inventing Trade secrets for value
  4. Patent part and trade secret part
  5. Trade Secret Audit
  6. Trade Secrets and the Courts
  7. Trade Secrets, Blockchain, and cyber security

Episode 12 – The Secret Weapon of IP: Enabled Publications

In this episode you will learn everything you need to know about enabled publications. Often erroneously called “defensive publications,” Enabled Publications offer a secret and powerful weapon in your IP arsenal. Learn about enabled publications, what they can do, how to document them, and how to use them to create the cheapest and most powerful “weapon” in the IP strategy. Learn this and your likely to improve the value of your current and future IP portfolio enormously and again, as crazy as it may sound, at extremely low cost. Topics discussed include:
  1. History of Enabled Publications
  2. Definition of Enabled Publications
  3. How Enabled Publications are different from other publications
  4. Documenting Enabled Publications
  5. IP Strategies using Enabled Publications
  6. The Future of Enabled Publications

Episode 13 – Invention vs. Innovation: What’s the Difference?

Invention is the key tool driving innovation. In this episode, John provides a clear differentiation of invention and innovation that, once understood, could transform your business. Very few people understand this critical distinction. Why do innovation programs fail, even when they are well funded? What is the missing link between invention and innovation that can drive major breakthroughs in technology? This episode is perfect for managers who drive invention and innovation in their companies. Topics covered in this episode also include:

  1. Why is this discussion even needed?
  2. How companies struggle with innovation
  3. Tools & Processes of Innovation
  4. Invention Definition
  5. Why companies struggle with invention
  6. Invention Tools &Processes
  7. Invention is the Key Tool Set of Innovation

Episode 14 – Avoid Patent Infringement with Freedom to Operate

In this episode, we’ll cover freedom to operate (FTO), what it is and the many strategies that you can use to gain leverage for your company. Learn secrets very few companies know, and more importantly, learn how to protect your company from patent lawsuits. FTO will also let you know more about your competitor to build better products and services at very low costs. Topics covered in this episode include:

  1. What is freedom to operate?
  2. What are the next steps if there is an FTO risk?
  3. Things that you can do if there is FTO risk. What are the tactics you can use?
  4. How can you leverage FTO in your company?
  5. How to build what you learn from FTO into your product development or IP strategy
  6. The future of FTO

Episode 15 – Evidence of Use: Detecting Patent Infringement

In this episode, John discusses when patent owners should consider getting an ‘Evidence of Use’ (EoU) opinion. Evidence of use is a process of collecting material evidence that an outside party may be practicing the technology claimed in a patent. We will cover:

  1. What is Evidence of Use (EoU)
  2. How Can EoU leverage your company
  3. EoU secrets only the experts know
  4. How to Monetize Patents with EoU
  5. Avoid pitfalls with EoU
  6. Know more about your competitor and their products with EoU