From the business point of view, intellectual property is of the utmost importance to a company. However, if they are not identified, they have zero value. One form of intellectual property is inventions, which may be challenging for companies’ employees to identify and highlight. In this article, we look at common problems companies may encounter when trying to expand their intellectual property, especially with regard to inventions. To conclude, we will present one solution, which may boost invention activity at companies and thereby increase their intellectual property.
The common denominators of companies that create inventions are an open-minded culture and support from the management. Inventions are also acknowledged as an important cornerstone of the company’s success. Product developers are allowed time, given motivation, and ensured sufficient know-how for innovation. This entails things such as appreciating inventors and their inventions and making sure that inventions are easy to report. A company has created an employee invention policy to encourage product developers to present their ideas and inventions using an invention report form. The organisation processes invention reports systematically to distinguish inventions that should be patented and/or are otherwise vital for business. Decision-making is efficient and transparent, and decisions are documented and reported back to the inventors.
Even if the company fosters a positive attitude towards invention, there are no guarantees that inventions will emerge. One reason may be that the product developers are lacking one or more of the aforementioned innovation enablers: time, motivation and/or the necessary skills.
ENABLERS OF INVENTION
At the company level, motivation can be boosted by showing appreciation towards inventors, for example, in the form of acknowledgements or compensation for the invention. Another way to increase motivation is to set targets for individual employees or the whole organisation. That being said, motivation alone is not enough if time or the required know-how are missing.
By invention know-how, we mean the product developer’s ability to recognise their invention and document it sufficiently extensively. A potential issue may be product developers underestimating their ideas, failing to recognise them as “inventions” or simply seeing them as part and parcel of normal research and development work. What’s more, product developers may not fully grasp the value of their invention for the company.
Although an invention may come to life in a split second, documenting it takes both skill and time. Companies should also allocate time to decision-making and invention analysis.
BERGGREN TO THE RESCUE
For several decades now, Berggren’s professionals have helped organisations with these challenges based on the Keksintömetsästys™ (engl. Invention Hunt™) concept. The concept enables product developers to gain the required understanding and know-how to quickly produce inventions and ideas that can be aimed at a specific area of business or product/technology category. At the same time, they can provide companies with raw ideas that are faster and easier to process further.
The service enables product developers to get excited about invention and improve their invention know-how and vision. With an upsurge in creative thinking and improved development skills, the company’s invention activity and ability will permanently increase.
Thanks to our Keksintömetsästys™ (engl. Invention Hunt™) service, many of our customers have, after attending a half-day event, acquired dozens of well-documented ideas to refine and to work on all the way to patent applications.
For additional information about the service, please visit our website. The authors of the blog, Marjut Lattu and Mika Lehtinen, are also happy to help with any enquiries.