Doers and communicators first, CIPOs after that
If that’s right (and it is only anecdotal so far) then let’s put off trying to make CEOs anoint a Chief Intellectual Property Officer (CIPO), ok?
Let’s work on the basics first.
Don’t get me wrong, the debate around CIPOs, their preferred attributes and metrics to measure them is incredibly important. Many companies would ideally have a CIPO and if nothing else, the debate has become a touch point for what is clearly the bigger issue – raising the profile of intellectual property as a source of strategic advantage.
Ok, so give me something practical, I hear you say. How do I make the intellectual property story more compelling?
This is not rocket surgery, it is being done all the time in countless ways in every corporation. You have to build your own credibility within your organisation as someone who reliably gets the job done. As you build trust with those senior to you, then your (ongoing?) commitment to communicating the value that can be added using intellectual property will become more prominent.
Make some (achievable) promises and then deliver. The more that you do this, the more credibility will be given to the IP function, and the greater awareness those senior to you will have. Some would call such a person an ‘IP Evangelist’ – I would say that they are just doing their job. People executing on difficult tasks bit by bit has always been what success is about.
Forget about what you’re called. Focus on delivering value using the tools of IP, and the rest will follow. Perhaps we will one day get to a position where all smart companies have a designated CIPO. But then again, perhaps not. Either way there should be someone in the organisation championing the use of intellectual property to deliver value.
Call them what you want, just as long as they get the job done.
(Photo credit: gopal1035)