Read this blog for tips and examples on how to bring IP and R&D teams together to cultivate new ideas and collaborate more effectively.
Fifteen years ago, the interaction between most Intellectual Property and Research and Development teams was frequently reactive and innovation management was not highly structured. IP might wait to hear from R&D about their latest ideas and then respond to possible legal issues. IP often wasn’t called in until there was a crisis to triage.
Today IP teams are shifting from reactive to proactive and looking for new ways to collaborate effectively. This requires a shift in culture and using innovation management software that enables better communication and feedback loops. R&D teams need a range of input from across the organization to get the best ideas. However, turning an idea into a patent requires a more concrete problem-solving approach. Both phases – brainstorming and turning those ideas into valuable IP assets – require easy-to-use collaboration tools for R&D and IP teams.
AQX® Innovation Management provides a suite of cloud-based innovation tools that facilitate collaboration and are tailored to your business needs. The new release of AQX (10.8), supports intellectual property teams so they can go from reacting to the crisis of the day to collaborating more easily with R&D, informing, and driving innovation, and shaping patent portfolios that add competitive value to the business.
Gather the Best Ideas Internally and Externally
When considering innovation platforms, it’s key to identify software that will enable your internal and external business partners to capture and track a broad funnel of new ideas from across the organization. In addition, separate and specifically designed portals for different business units allow each unit to use the innovation management software the way that works best for them and provide strategic guidance specific to each team.
Creating branded portals for different product teams and even outside partners can help build team unity and enthusiasm. AQX Innovation Management provides a dedicated workspace for ideation and collaboration that can be personalized to your brand.
- It enables your team to drive strategic innovation by posting challenges, areas of interest, and goals.
- The workspace connects with other tools such as project tracking and data analysis. Users can also access a message board for ad-hoc communication.
The examples below show how different teams can brand their portals for different parts of your organization.
Fig. 1 Branded Portals in AQX Innovation Management
Innovation portals in AQX Innovation Management can be organized by business units, internal and external stakeholders, and more. Although there are times when open access to information about a project can help teams innovate and collaborate, there are also situations where confidentiality is crucial. AQX Innovation Management provides customization to meet all these needs, such as:
- Adjusting the platform for specific initiatives and business units
- Supporting confidential or open innovation
- Tracking the history of ideas – including ones you have rejected to pursue and why
- Providing the highest level of security
Invite Feedback from Different Parts of the Company
Capturing ideas from teams across the organization and ensuring there is a cross-pollination of ideas throughout the organization enriches innovation opportunities.
For example, suppose a seed company markets to farmers as well as residential lawn and garden consumers. In this organization, an inventor in the agricultural group discovers a way that helps seeds resist drought. If the group goes straight to Legal and files a patent application, the company might miss out on the broader applicability of an innovation that might also work in lawns and gardens.
If the same company had received strategic input from management and other departments early in the process, the resulting patent application and eventual product sales could cover a broader swath of the business.
Create Custom Workflows to Route Ideas and Reviews to Different Stakeholders
It can be difficult for stakeholders across departments and geographic locations to be on the same page, resulting in inefficiencies and missed opportunities. With AQX Innovation Management, you can create custom workflows to make sure new ideas go through a series of checks and balances before approval.
Ideate and Collaborate in a Virtual World
R&D teams are inundated with virtual collaboration apps that promise productivity but often deliver distraction. Companies and universities need workspaces that work for everyone and connect an entire organization - whether your staff is working remotely, in an office, or in different regions of the world.
Businesses are continuing to navigate what their workplaces should look like and whether employees are in-person, remote, or hybrid. Accessing experts across the business, gathering their input, and making informed decisions requires robust platforms that help spark innovation and improve the underlying workflow.
For example, suppose you are in an organization with locations around the world as well as numerous diverse business units with multiple CTOs.
AQX Innovation Management includes an asset management feature that allows CTOs to share with each other what they're working on, what tools and technologies they're leveraging, and what solutions they're focusing on.
Create a Process for Idea Submissions and Collaborative Reviews
It’s important to have a review and decision-making workspace that allows teams of reviewers to easily access supporting documents and idea submission information. A dashboard view displaying milestones supports team members with tracking throughout the innovation lifecycle. The dashboard also can target specific tracks, so R&D teams can focus on discrete issues while business units can weigh in on more general direction and focus. AQX Innovation Management provides an end-to-end solution using a configurable review and rating process to help move the best idea submissions forward.
Fig. 2 Collaboration Workspace in AQX Innovation Management
Collaboration looks different for every organization. However, it is often not limited to just your internal stakeholders. A virtual workspace can improve collaboration with suppliers and external partners. This gets them involved in the testing and feedback loop and helps create a culture of innovation that extends beyond the organization.
Review and Report on Your Innovation Pipeline
When inventors, R&D, legal, and other stakeholders bring their perspectives to the table early in the process, it sparks new and broader ideas. It’s not enough to invite them into the conversation. Stakeholders need a streamlined process combined with easy-to-use analytical tools. All of this can help organizations discover new uses for an innovation that the inventor or R&D didn’t initially have in mind, ultimately creating more opportunities for commercialization.
AQX Innovation Management includes reports on key performance indicators to ensure that the innovation funnel is in alignment with corporate strategy. Senior managers can create custom dashboards to visualize the pipeline with dynamic charts, graphs, and KPIs to report on your innovation pipeline to business stakeholders.
Fig. 3 Idea Dashboard using Interactive Dashboards in AQX
Great Ideas Aren’t Built in Isolation
With a partnership approach and the right tools, IP and R&D can block competitors, claim whitespace, establish freedom to operate, and build a portfolio that is strong both offensively and defensively. The result: your company has the flexibility to use, license, commercialize, and monetize its IP in ways that influence the direction of the business.
AQX Innovation Management supports teams with capturing ideas, identifying gaps, solving problems, and ensuring alignment between innovation and the strategic vision of the company. Ultimately, this helps organizations innovate using improved collaboration and enhanced decision-making processes to accelerate the best ideas.
Additional exciting developments will soon be released in AQX Innovation Management such as localization and further integrations that R&D and IP teams use throughout their day to further enhance collaboration.