“There is an idea which I want to share with potential customers and others in industry BUT I don’t want to share it because any of these people may steal it or share it with a competitor”. So what to do?
The “Innovation Dilemma” has existed for all time – one of the reasons patents were created was to overcome this problem (the first was in 1331). The bargain was this: If the inventor publishes/releases all details of his invention, the state will give him legal protection against those who copy it. This worked while most people were country based. Since then a sticking plaster was put on it so that people could not trawl through foreign patent journals and patent the same idea locally. However, now the problem is truly global. No one can afford to register and prosecute a patent in every jurisdiction. The only long term solution is a world patent. The likelihood of all countries coming together to agree an international patent system is next to zero.
So how can inventors and innovators move forward? How can they share an idea with as many people as possible to make it better or find its weaknesses? There are two options:
- Inventors use their trusted network to test the idea. This highlights how important it is to have an excellent, wide-ranging group of people who will tell you what they really think and be trusted not to tell others.
- Inventors become entrepreneurs and resort to the other 95% of what makes a business work rather than depend upon the 5% of invention/innovation. The 95% concentrates on: Keeping current customers; Finding new customers; and Making a profit.
The successful entrepreneur is likely to start with the first and move rapidly into the second phase – creating profit to ensure the businesses future success.
Perhaps this could be summarised: “Don’t sit around talking about it, just do it!”