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Innovation

Speed pays in IP commercialisation

Speed pays. You already know that customers pay more if you can deliver fast with no reduction in quality.

Speed wins. Speed is a critical pre-requisite to be competitive in markets.

Speed in innovation pays and wins. In a commercialisation venture it is helpful to measure speed. Get a measure of the speed of change of intellectual property and the agility of the management team, business processes, methodologies and technology.

countdown_to_singularity_linear

Why measure change?

In brainstorming sessions for commercialisation ventures a common task is to get a measure of the speed of innovation in particular fields. Measuring change and its speed is important because what you can't measure you can't manage too well. Knowledge on the speed of change helps a venture:

  • monitor developments including disruptive technology, shooting stars, out of left field changes, inflection points, emerging critical mass, tipping points etc;
  • benchmark its agility in specific areas;
  • assess where to apply resources, eg spending on R&D verses say more marketing; and
  • prioritise how to compete more effectively.

Those who decide to invest in a venture, in whatever way, are influenced by their perceptions about the venture's speed of change relative to the competition.

However, there's a lack of rigour in the measures available to track the rate of change. There's a cobweb of questions. For example what precisely should we measure?

With intellectual property innovation measuring the number and pace of registrations is only a start. IP that requires no registration is tracked less often, eg copyright, goodwill, and IP bundled in business systems, product designs and franchising.

It's also problematic to measure management innovation, eg improvements in a venture's management systems.

With both IP and management it helps to use specialists with up-to-date competitive intelligence.

Is change accelerating?

Although there is no standard innovation speedometre the common perception is that change is accelerating. This is supported by a fine academic article on measuring innovation. It states:

"It is my intuition, supported by today's crude exponential technology capacity growth metrics such as Moore's law (processing), Gilder's law (bandwidth) Poor's law (network node density), Cooper's law (wireless bandwidth), Kurzweil's law ([16] price performance of computation over 120 years) and many others, that technological capacity and technological innovation have always accelerated since the birth of human civilization, and that their growth remains exponential or gently superexponential today."

What is technological singularity?

The belief that change is accelerating sustains the concepts of essential singularity and technological singularity.

Technological singularity is a theory that at some point in the near future there will be technology that improves itself, thus automating the acceleration of change.

Ray Kurzweil [TED video] is a career-long student of the rate of technological change. He currently puts the date at 2045 according to Wikipedia.

Implications?

The practical takeaway for readers is - be prepared for change at an accelerating pace.

Consider the lawyers you use. In selecting a business lawyer look for clarity of thought, emotion and communication, a track record, up-to-date market knowledge, refined methodologies for each core business area, a well-established network of collaborators or colleagues, and robust template documents ready for customisation. Without this, legal time and costs increase.

This type of lawyer is a world away from 25 years ago. Here there is more evidence that change is accelerating. Most lawyers 25 years ago targeted to have a trained typing pool ready to take dictation and get a letter in the post today so an answer can be received within two weeks or at most a month. How many questions did you have answered for you today by people across the planet using email and surfing the web?


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