People as Enablers the Role of the Human Factor in Intellectual Asset Management of Technology
les Nouvelles - Journal of the Licensing Executives Society, Volume LV No. 2, June 2020
14 Pages Posted: 29 Jun 2020
Date Written: April 21, 2020
The potential value of technology and intellectual property (IP) assets can be fully realized only if it is accompanied by a people-centric perspective. For an efficient intellectual asset management of technology, a number of key players inside and outside an organization must be considered, as well as cultural factors. To achieve ultimate success, the views and roles of business decision-makers and IP managers must support and complement each other in an integrated, IP-driven environment throughout all phases of the intellectual asset (IA) value chain.
In phase 1, when IAs are created, the focus is on the work done by IP managers, while decision-makers provide the frameworks for success. The three key recommendations during this phase are to employ a pro-active IA management approach that supports creativity, practice open innovation by allowing external influences on the process, and create a working environment to attract and keep talent.
In phase 2, when the technology created is assessed and protected, IP managers play a leading role, while decision-makers provide oversight and guidance, with the common goal of having a product or service that can be monetized in the final phase. The three key recommendations during this phase are to integrate key business functions to ensure alignment, implement milestone-based management that allows for repeated stop-or-go decisions for expenditure/opportunity optimization, and create an incentive system with the aim of achieving alignment through success-related incentives.
In the last phase, phase 3, business decision-makers take the lead to realize the value created during the previous phases by selling related products and services or strategic transactions (alliances, licensing, spin-offs, acquisitions and divestments), while IP managers move into a support role. The three key recommendations in this phase, with its focus on high-value-generating strategic transactions, are to ensure management continuity throughout all stages of a strategic transaction, plan ahead to be strategy-driven rather than opportunity-driven, and align through success-related payments with transaction partners to optimize financial returns.
All phases of IA management require a high level of knowledge of IP on the part of everyone involved. The three key recommendations to enhance IP know-how are: provide appropriate training for executives and R&D personnel, become part of the IP/business community through attending conferences and other events, and learn from best practices by means of training events and publications.
Keywords: Enablers, human factor, intellectual asset management, technology, IA, IP
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