Your IP Management Capabilities: Prepare to Self-Assess

This is the second blog post in a series dedicated to the IP Maturity Model. This week we will discuss the recommended steps for maturity self-assessment and how to prepare for this activity.

In our last IP Maturity Model blog post, we introduced you to the concept of maturity models, their purpose, and benefits. This week we will discuss the recommended steps for maturity self-assessment and how to prepare for this activity.

A capability maturity assessment is performed to establish a maturity baseline, to determine what maturity goals the company aspires to achieve, and to create a high-level plan to close the gap. A common assessment approach progresses through five key stages:



As with any initiative that challenges current norms and/or introduces change, preparation is key. The number one requirement to start this type of activity is executive sponsorship. This individual typically has oversight across all functional areas that will be involved in, and can be impacted by, the assessment activity and the resulting recommendations. During the start-up phase, the sponsor must:

  • Work with the stakeholders to build management support
  • Line up the appropriate resources for the assessment (selection is often based on the executive sponsors expected scope for the assessment)
  • Create awareness with the employees in general to let them know this activity is happening, why it is happening, and to demonstrate executive commitment

Each of these key activities involves many tasks. For further details I refer you to an excellent source dedicated to change management.

The executive sponsor typically assigns a person to manage the assessment through the process. Once this person has been identified, the buy-in initiated, and the participants identified, it is time to confirm scope.

Identify Focus Process Areas: The scope, in the form of process areas, will help focus resources and activities for the overall assessment. Using the Innography IP Maturity Model as our example the process areas to consider are: Research & Product Development (R&D), IP Portfolio Management, IP Acquisition & Monetization, Competitive Intelligence, and Risk Management & Litigation. 

Key guidance when choosing process areas:

Start with the end in mind

  • Examine the company’s business goals
  • Identify which process areas are most important in helping you achieve these goals

Don’t boil the ocean

  • Focus on quick wins and high value
  • If a process area is good enough as is, leave it be and focus where the most impact may be gained

Prioritize the process areas by:

  • Asking the executive sponsor
  • Using prioritization techniques as a team (this team should be chosen by the executive sponsor)

Match the assessment focus to the resources available including:

  • People who can help answer questions/participate in workshop
  • Departments that will have resources available to execute resulting roadmap plans

Once the scope has been confirmed, the resources identified, and a high-level assessment plan developed, the program manager now prepares for step 2 - assessing the company’s current capabilities.

One last thing to share... A common theme when dealing with maturity models is “Make it what you need it to be.” The key message here is not every organization needs to achieve level 5 for all process areas. Focus on the important areas first and improve only to the level dictated by the business goals. How do you find the balance? Just ask yourself, “Is it effective?” This simple technique is very powerful when trying to keep things in check.

Next time we will continue to work our way through the assessment steps.

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