Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Removing Barriers for Idea Submission: Awareness and IP Protection

By: Steven Telio, Director of Product Management at ideaPoint

Barrier 3: Initial Awareness

“I did not know anyone was even looking for solutions to that problem.”

“I had no idea I could submit ideas directly to your organization since I don’t work there.”

The first step in getting people to participate in your innovation process and submit ideas, is to admit that you have a problem. You may be looking for possible solutions to a specific problem, sponsoring an organization-wide challenge, or more generally soliciting interesting or novel ideas. But, if your target audience is not aware of your innovation program, if they do not know how to submit an idea, if they do not know the process involved in submitting an idea, if they are unsure what will happen to their idea once it is submitted, they will never share their idea with you.

Mitigation: Broadcast your need – either to people within your organization and especially to those outside of it – and clearly communicate how people can participate, and what will happen to their ideas once submitted.


Barrier 4: Idea Ownership / IP Protection

“It’s my idea. Do I automatically own the rights to it?”

“What are my rights if I submit an idea? Who owns it? How can I track what is being done with it?”
Non-employees may be unwilling to part with an idea because they are unsure how the organization will use it, and what IP protections will be put in place to retain original ownership. Unless an organization already has a track record or reputation of credible and reliable attribution, others may be reluctant to work with them without putting a substantial paper trail in place.

It’s worth noting that IP which originates outside of the organization needs to be treated differently than native IP. Employees, as a condition of employment, are often required to agree that any of their inventions or innovations created while on the job are the property of the company. This applies whether the invention is created as a direct result of the employee’s responsibilities, or if it ancillary to their day-to-day role.

Mitigation: Be explicit about who will retain ownership over the idea and how it is being treated. Also be clear about what might happen to ownership as it progresses through the innovation pipeline. For example, a user may be asked to license their idea if the organization chooses to go forward with it. Academic institutions may assist with patent filing to ensure both the original inventor and the institution can rightfully claim access to the intellectual property. Regardless of the approach, strive for transparency.


This is the fifth post in a series of blogs titled “Removing Barriers for Idea Submission.” Each blog will address different barriers, and challenges that innovation programs are faced with. For further information about a software solution to streamline your process for gathering ideas and accelerating innovations, visit www.idea-point.com or contact Pat McWilliams (Patrick.McWilliams@idea-point.com)

1 comment:

Tom Flick said...


"Removing Barriers for Idea Submission: Awareness and IP Protection" is good thought

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