Your IP Management Capabilities: Assessing Current State

Shauna Osborne continues her blog series on the IP Maturity Model with suggestions for assessing current capabilities inside your organization.

In our last posting, we highlighted the key activities required when preparing for an assessment. Once preparation has been completed, it is time to assess the current state of the business’ IP Maturity

Assess Current Capabilities: Getting started on the discovery phase depends on the approach being taken: workshop, interviews or both. How this takes place is often dictated by the availability of participants. 

A workshop approach requires a quorum of key participants all in the same room at the same time. This is often hard to coordinate, but the benefits of having everyone interact and debate the points can be highly valuable. It also reduces the need for individual follow up and validation that lends itself to fast results. Workshop suggestions:

  • Have a strong agenda
    • Review the purpose & objectives
    • Introductions/their agenda
    • Prioritize the order in which to attack the process areas
    • Work through process areas in a systematic way
    • Review results, parking lot items, and action items
    • Next steps and wrap up
  • Use a “Parking Lot” – a place to capture ideas that should be addressed later in the session or after the session
  • Avoid having remote attendees
  • Keep copious notes… suggest a helper for the facilitator

If a workshop approach is not feasible then individual interviews are the next best option. Interviews typically takes more time on the part of the facilitator as it often takes multiple discussions with the same people to validate input between the participating parties. For interviews:

  • Schedule adequate time
  • Book the resources well in advance and confirm their availability the day beforehand
  • Review the purpose of the discussion up front
  • Drill down… the first answer typically scratches the surface
  • Validate, validate, validate! Prepare to revisit issues based on information provided by others
  • Keep copious notes… suggest two interviewers if possible

No matter which approach is taken, the facilitator/interviewer must ensure they are well prepared with a list of questions defined to help them determine capability level. As an example, here are some assessment questions used to determine Level 3 strategic capability for Research and Product Development:

  1. Is the company’s R&D organization creating IP assets that help support and even impact corporate strategy? If so, please provide examples.
  2. Does the company have a formalized IP Management process that is consistently executed across all relevant parts of the company’s organization? Is this process documented and openly available amongst all relevant parts of the R&D organization? Is compliance of the R&D team monitored?
  3. Does the R&D organization have the following involvement in the company's larger IP Management process:
    • Own Key Performance Indicators that are monitored and used for improvement initiatives?
    • Align research activity with IP portfolio gaps (as defined by IP Management with considerations of competitive intelligence and general business drivers)? “White Space” analysis?
    • Apply screen criteria via a review process that involves participants from other related process areas such as Portfolio Management?
  4. Does the R&D organization have a formal program to educate employees about the importance of IP to the company and their job role?
    • Who is responsible for this program?
    • How is success of this program measured?
    • What percentage of the relevant organization has been exposed to this program?

Remember to communicate results and progress continuously throughout the process. Transparency is key to ensure buy-in and ongoing participation.

Next time we will continue to work our way through the assessment steps by discussing how to determine maturity targets.

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