Monthly Archives: December 2009

Must Read Post on Innovation from Blogging Innovation: Steve Shapiro of Innocentive on Three Distinctions of Innovation

(Happy belated Holidays to readers of the IP Asset Maximizer blog.  The dearth of postings on this blog lately is due not only to my hectic holiday schedule, but also the death of my aged Grandfather.  Thanks everyone for your patience–we’ll be up and running on a regular schedule after the New Year.)

I just came across this post from the Blogging Innovation blog, hosted by Braden Kelley.  (Anyone interested in innovation MUST subscribe to Braden’s blog.)  The post, entitled “Part 1:  Three Innovation Distinctions” is by Steve Shapiro of Innocentive, distills what innovation is down to words which are placed in counterbalance with the standard model of product and technology development.  Specifically, Steve contends that innovation is about:

  1. Challenges not Ideas
  2. Process not Events
  3. Diversity not Homogeneity

As I posted in a comment, I believe that this is a remarkably simple way to highlight the why many of the corporations, law firms and clients for whom I have worked over the years are currently or will soon be failed institutions.   Moreover, the 3 statements seem to transcend outside of the business world:  my husband is a professor at a Top 20 US university, and they operate using ideas, events and homogenity, even while they go around seeking “innovative ideas” from the faculty.  (Interestingly, the university thinks they are “diverse” because they are “liberal” in their hiring policies.  Nonetheless, once hired, most of these “diverse” people end up marching to the same drummer.)

Steve’s post goes onto elaborate on the first bullet point in this Part 1:  Challenges not Ideas.

About ideas, Steve says the issue is the “signal to noise” problem:

Organizations do not have a shortage of ideas. They have a shortage of good ideas that matter.  In innovation, the signal is comprised of the good ideas.  The useful ideas.  The ideas that can and will ultimately be implemented in such a way that they create value.  The noise is made up of all of the other ideas.  Useless suggestions.  Solutions to problems that don’t matter.  Ideas that will never come to fruition.

In contrast to ideas:

With challenges you assign owners, resources, evaluators, evaluation criteria, and funding up front. We know that the solution to a challenge will be relevant to the needs of the organization, so if a solution is found we know it will be valuable. Also, because of the nature of challenges, we have better tools to evaluate the amount of time spent on finding solutions. We can truly measure the ROI of each challenge and the overall challenge-based program.

There is much more to the post in regards to the ideas vs. challenges paradigm, and I invite you to read and let me know what you think.  (In later posts he will discuss the other 2 bullet points.)

Happy New Year!

Success in Innovation Requires IP Counseling on the Front End: Here’s How to Make it Happen

The 2009 Open Innovation Summit was held in Orlando two weeks ago.  The event was attended by corporate practitioners of Open Innovation, including people from P&G, GSK Consumer, Cisco, Whirlpool, J&J, HP (here are Phil McKinney’s slides), Clorox, and many others.  Leading consultants in Open Innovation also attended, including Stefan Lindegaard of Leadership+ Innovation, Braden Kelley of Blogging Innovation and Robert Brands of Innovation Coach.  A number of vendors of services were there, too.  I thought this was a great knowledge share event, and a must do for folks wanting to learn more about Open Innovation.  Another Summit is planned for August 201o in Chicago.

At the Summit, we spent much of the 3 days hearing how the attending companies, many of which include those in the Fortune 100, view Open Innovation as a critical aspect of sustainable growth and profits.  We also heard about successes and lessons learned.  Anyone interested in obtaining a sense of the discussion should check out the Twitter feed from the event.  A table of bloggers including Braden Kelley, Andrea Meyer, Hutch Carpenter, Adam Hansen and myself live blogged the event, which serves as a record of the event for posterity.  The Twitter feed is #ois09.

To me, a striking aspect of the Summit was the fact that none of the highly accomplished innovation professionals discussed how their respective companies including patents and intellectual property generally in Open Innovation processes.  Indeed, for all of these companies, I was left with the distinct impression that no company substantively addressed IP in the front end their otherwise highly disciplined Open Innovation processes.  This initially surprised me until my turn came to speak about how patents can be used to jump-start Open Innovation to, for example, lower costs, increase speed to market and reduce the risk of new product development.  At that time, I asked for a show of hands of how many attorneys were in the audience; the answer–in a room of over 100 people from some of the leading corporations in the country–was 1 other than me. Continue reading