Intellectual Property and Technology Innovation: A Barrier to Creativity?

Intellectual property is a legal concept which refers to creations of the mind for which exclusive rights are recognized. Under intellectual property law, owners are granted certain exclusive rights to a variety of intangible assets. The concern right now with intellectual property, in regards to innovation in product development, could inhibit the entire creative innovation and technology management process.

Technology innovation for product development often involves a combination of efforts such as sharing “trade secret know how” with new insight to enable new possibilities for breakthrough innovation. To move this work along, discussion and studies are involved along with analyzing the feasibility of the technology with critical testing in a cooperative manner. Often times, external technology or new processes are involved in this process.  This is the iterative, creative process at work.

In Breakthroughs and the “Long Tail” of Innovation, MIT Sloane Management Review (Fall 2007) by Lee Fleming, Associate Professor at Harvard Business School, noted that in structuring innovation teams,

“Companies should go for depth, not breadth, when assembling a diverse team. In general, individuals with deep expertise will be more likely to see potential synergies across fields than will those with broader but shallower knowledge”.

A major concern in innovation and technology management is restricting the collaboration with rules or guidelines. The producing of quality results could be By putting guidelines in place (like preventing teams to collaborate) could prohibit producing quality results. Sharing and insightful iteration to create new value propositions, identify risk areas, scalability probabilities, potential costs require innovation “partners” to share Intellectual Property.  Methods to share jointly-created intellectual property will encourage the free exchange of ideas and the analysis required for successful product development innovation.

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