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Business Innovations

Intellectual Property is the result of many business innovations and creative thinking.  In addition to the information provided here, I also post regularly to my other blog related to innovation for business.  That blog covers a variety of topics related to identifying, developing and leveraging innovations in your business.   Protecting those innovations is also important, and is discussed on that blog as well as here – as related to Intellectual Property.

I invite you to visit my other blog at http://www.InnovationExplained.com and comment on any of my posts.

Thanks!

Expand your Business by Implementing an Intellectual Property Strategy

Intellectual Property (IP) is important to many businesses.  Properly leveraged intellectual property assets can provide a competitive edge, increase revenue and create a “team environment”.  IP is not limited to “high tech” companies or businesses with large research and development groups.  Most businesses have IP assets that are valuable to the company, such as business procedures (both internal procedures and external procedures), customer lists, company brand/identity, creative ideas developed by company personnel and more.

Take Action. Be proactive in implementing an Intellectual Property Strategy and identifying new innovations.  Do not limit activities to current products and services – look for unmet needs in related markets and develop innovative ideas in those areas as well.  These developments in related markets provide opportunities for product expansion as well as licensing to generate additional revenue.  Also, look for ways to extend existing products or services by identifying future needs of the marketplace.  Evaluate current trends in your market and brainstorm solutions that meet future customer needs as those trends evolve.

Evaluate. Review all innovations to determine how they can support the company’s current and future goals. When a new innovation is identified, perform an initial analysis to identify any potential deadlines regarding protection of that innovation.  Certain types of intellectual property protection have strict filing deadlines and other requirements to preserve your rights.

Existing Assets. Evaluate your existing IP assets to determine whether they are consistent with your current business plan.  As your company’s business objectives change, look for new ways to leverage existing IP assets – through licensing, marketing and so forth.  Take steps to ensure that all of your company’s existing innovations are identified and, if appropriate, properly protected.

Review your business goals today and begin developing an Intellectual Property Strategy that supports and enhances those goals.

Creating an Innovation Culture in your Business

Every person in an organization has the potential to support an innovation strategy.  Regardless of training or job responsibility, everyone is capable of identifying innovative solutions even if they are not responsible for developing that solution.

For example, employees in any department may see inefficiencies in company procedures – such as manufacturing procedures, shipping procedures and so forth.  Correcting these inefficiencies can reduce expenses and improve customer satisfaction.

Create an innovation culture by educating all personnel about the value of innovations to the company.  This innovation culture helps foster a team environment and increases the likelihood of identifying important ideas and suggestions.  Don’t limit innovative activities to people in the “research and development” department – I’ve seen many examples of employees without any technical background identifying significant innovations that result in new product offerings for the company.

Encourage innovations in your business by offering rewards and recognition to company innovators.  Innovation contests, brainstorming sessions and related activities also support an innovation culture in your business.

Innovate Your Business Via Customer Feedback

Many businesses search internally for innovative ideas.  However, plenty of innovative suggestions are available from sources outside the company, such as current customers and prospective customers.

For example, customers may identify problems with an existing product or service.  Solutions to these problems may represent an innovation that improves an existing product, thereby enhancing the product’s success in the marketplace.

Customers may also suggest desired features, enhancements or new products/services.  Implementation of these suggestions can boost sales and expand a company’s product line.

Companies should encourage the gathering of customer feedback through salespeople, installers, customer support personnel, and so forth.  This customer feedback needs to be recorded and communicated to the proper departments and personnel to consider implementation of the feedback.

Customer feedback is easily collected at minimal cost, and provides valuable suggestions directly from the marketplace.

Identify, Track and Evaluate All Innovations

Identifying innovations is an important step in generating, protecting and leveraging intellectual property assets. Innovations can help your business reduce expenses, create a competitive edge in the marketplace and increase revenue.

Innovation Disclosures. To be sure all innovations are identified in your company, implement an innovation disclosure program that allows all personnel to easily submit descriptions of their creative ideas. Each description should include the name of the individuals who developed the innovation, products or services that might benefit from the innovation and what steps have been taken to implement the idea.

Create a Simple System. Create a form or submission system that is fast and easy to use. The initial disclosure form should capture the key information necessary to determine the value of the innovation to the company. If a decision is made to leverage the innovation, additional information can be obtained at that time. A simple submission system will not be viewed as a burden by company personnel, and will likely result in documentation of more creative thoughts.

Tracking Innovations. Once submitted, use a tracking system to monitor the status of every disclosure submitted. This tracking system should identify deadlines, upcoming public disclosures and products or services that might benefit from the innovation.

Evaluation. Create a review committee to regularly evaluate disclosures and determine whether the innovation can be leveraged to advance the company’s business objectives. This review committee should include personnel from different groups within the company, such as research and development, marketing and manufacturing. These groups provide diverse views of how to best leverage innovations in the company in a manner that is consistent with the company’s goals.

Encourage all personnel to submit their creative thoughts for evaluation – and reward those activities. Every person in your company is a potential innovator. Start capturing and leveraging those creative ideas today to expand your business and build your intellectual property assets.

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