Expanding Your Business by Identifying, Tracking and Evaluating All Innovations

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Identifying innovations is a critical step in generating, protecting and leveraging intellectual property assets. Innovative ideas can help your business reduce expenses, create a competitive edge in the marketplace and increase revenue.

Disclosures. To be sure all innovations are identified in your company, implement an innovation disclosure program that allows all personnel to easily submit descriptions of their creative ideas. Each description should include the name of the individuals who developed the idea, products or services that might benefit from the creation and what steps have been taken to implement the idea.

Simple System. Create a form or submission system that is fast and easy to use. The initial disclosure form should capture the key information necessary to determine the value of the innovation to the company. If a decision is made to leverage the improvement, additional information can be obtained at that time. A simple submission system will not be viewed as a burden by company personnel, and will likely results in documentation of more creative thoughts.

Tracking. Once submitted, use a tracking system to monitor the status of every disclosure submitted. This tracking system should identify deadlines, upcoming public disclosures and products or services that might benefit from the innovation. Create a review committee to regularly evaluate disclosures and determine whether the idea can be leveraged to advance the company's business objectives. This review committee should include personnel from different groups within the company, such as research and development, marketing and manufacturing. These groups provide diverse views of how to best leverage innovations in the company in a manner that is consistent with the company's goals.

Encourage all personnel to submit their creative thoughts for evaluation – and reward those activities. Every person in your company is a potential innovator. Start capturing and leveraging those creative thoughts today to expand your business and build your intellectual property assets.

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