Simple steps to rev your innovation engine
Increase awareness and communication to really get your innovation and R&D going.
The R&D department is one of the most creative places in a company, and often the main source of competitive advantage on the market. R&D costs are however an issue for many organizations. My believe is that this happens because significant resources are allocated for developing technologies without properly considering patentability issues and, sometimes, even losing sight of business goals.
Increasing R&D efficiency can be achieved relatively easy by supporting interdepartmental communications, setting in place an IP education program and creating an effective incentive structure. I have touched upon the benefits of supporting interdepartmental communication and collaboration in one of my earlier blogs (The (IP) Learning Organisation) so I will take this chance to focus on the specifics of an R&D education and incentive program.
An IP education program can be applied to big and small companies which wish to reduce costs, increase the patentable outcomes resulting from R&D and elevate the value of the patentable subject matter. What should the IP education program be about? A useful education program for the R&D department should include at least issues such as:
– how to keep R&D lab books in line with international requirements
– how to manage confidential information’s
– what are the patentability requirements
– how to use surveillance programs to guide the actions of the department towards researching in areas that show upcoming demands on is the market
– to what depth technical specifications need to be included in a patent to make good patent claims,
Covering these issues should give your R&D team the basic understanding on intellectual property and focus their activities towards increasing both patentable subject matter and the value of this patentable subject matter. Combined with a carefully thought through incentive program that rewards the quality of patents (can contain milestone for specific circumstances like a PCT application’s entrance into national phase, or other) and structures that encourage interdepartmental communication such an education program is likely to increase your R&D efficiency and offer your team the focus needed.