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Removing Barriers for Idea Submission: Awareness and IP Protection

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By: Steven Telio,
Director of Product Management
at ideaPoint
Barrier 3: Initial

'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
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)

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