There are some factors in your competitive marketplace that will always be out of your control, like a competitor’s introduction of brand new technology, or a radical change in consumer trends and tastes. Those factors will certainly influence how much product you’re able to move and revenue you will generate once you introduce something to the market, but there are other factors that can effectively raise the value of your IP by lowering the investment costs. Three primary influencers on IP development costs are the hours devoted to the invention disclosure process, the labor costs associated with those hours, and any barriers, mainly rooted in internal communication, that prevent organizations from introducing their product to the market.
Considering those cost influencers, you could say that the biggest contributor to maximizing profit when creating intellectual property is efficiency. Let’s identify ways to combat inefficiency in those areas.
How much time goes into the various stages of invention disclosure at your company? It’s a multi-stage, multi-step process, and it requires hours of review among multiple departments or team members. Time is of course money. In addition, timing is everything when patents are granted to the “first inventor to file;” it is a race to the patent office. The last thing you need is a hairball in the pipes. The solution to cutting down on your time investment lies in the process between review actions. Consider things like:
- How long does it take to relay approval or feedback from one team to another?
- How many meetings are being held between team members?
- Is proceeding to the next step in the review process contingent on the results of those meetings?
What is keeping your employees from doing their work during the disclosure process? If your innovation team is smaller, you may not have the resources to assign your employees specialized roles. That means they’re frequently going to be pulled in different directions, likely splitting their time between the development of new IP, disclosure activity, and review actions. The best way you can assist your team members is to reduce the labor required for one or more of those functions. Are there ways to:
- Structure your employees’ work so they know what to prioritize?
- Reorganize whatever repository is used to store IP details and review information?
- Quickly disclose new IP directly to supervisors or other internal review boards?
What tools or processes does your team use in order to share details during invention disclosure? The conventional methods of emailing and coordinating meetings sometimes get the job done (eventually), but there’s typically no rigid process underlying those communication methods. Meetings may be the biggest negative influence on your communication process, since they often take longer, they occupy two or more employees’ time, and they must be scheduled during periods where all participants are free - which usually necessitates some additional delay. Certainly, physical meetings can be advantageous, for example in collaboratively uncovering additional questions, but they usually devolve into time sinks. Think of how your organization can:
- Automatically notify the appropriate team members when their participation is required
- Allow team members to converse and collaborate via electronic communication
- Get all documentation into a digital format for faster transmission
- Incorporate simple workflow software into the review process
By focusing on and improving these factors, your organization will be able to make the IP creation and commercialization paths much smoother. With costs down and productivity up, you will also raise your profitability. Once you’ve optimized your IP management process, you’ll want to gather and analyze the data that underlies that process in order to make the faster and better decisions. Here’s a free resource guide that focuses on how you can best leverage your collected data to streamline your IP management strategy. Click here to download it now.