Every year a spike of innovation marked by an increase in patent filings happens in one or more of the several industry segments and creates a buzz grabbing everyone’s attention. This year one that comes to attention instantly is going green. The global initiative on battling climate change has gathered tremendous momentum this year as compared to the past and combines with several other environmental issues faced globally such as depleting mineral energy resources and waste the emphasis on innovation to work towards environmentally friendly technology and sustainable businesses has reached a new level.
A recent news article on Green Energy Reporter said:
The United States Patent and Trademark Office granted some 271 clean energy patents during the third quarter of 2009, which is the highest amount of approved patents in a single quarter, according to the latest Clean Energy Patent Growth Index (CEPGI) compiled by law firm Heslin Rothenberg Farley & Mesiti.
While companies across the globe are stepping up their research and development efforts to step up discoveries of greener energy sources, finding solutions to the issues we face is not just restricted to energy. CleanTechnica.com published a great article on how leading footwear manufacturer Nike has been using innovation and collaboration to develop footwear and apparels out of sustainable and recyclable material while making it financially viable for production as soon as possible. An extract quoted Nike in that article said:
From Nike: The long-term vision for Considered is to design products that are fully closed loop: produced using the fewest possible materials, designed for easy disassembly while allowing them to be recycled into new product or safely returned to nature at the end of their life. By 2011, 100 percent of footwear will meet baseline Considered standards, apparel by 2015 and equipment by 2020 – creating better performing products while minimizing environmental impact by reducing waste, using environmentally preferred materials and eliminate toxins.
Organizations have set themselves very tight deadlines and understand they are working against time when it comes to “going green”. That means the research and development organizations have to step up the innovation, look for ways to tap ideas from universities and external teams (Open Innovation) and move quicker. Researching internal generated IP and external IP is a key information driver for Open Innovation.
How you organize all the researched information is as important as conducting the research since you can quickly hit information overload. Having the right Intellectual Property Knowledge Management system is important for a better organized, more efficient process. Being better organized involves improving workflows and improving management and communication of analyzed information to the decision maker in minimum time. Well managed patent data can help tremendously in the research process, understanding what competitors are doing, finding collaborators working in a similar direction, acquiring technology needed to speed up the process and more. You can then make internal workflows quicker and efficient and easily share data involved in the innovation process both within departments across the organization and outside with partners or third parties involved.
The race against time to develop greener alternatives to the way we function today will require the best minds to come together in a quest for solutions and thereby compel companies to come together, work collaboratively, share information and innovate. That calls for organizations to be more open about IP research and have systems that can scale to support research happening locally and externally.