There are many things companies have to do right in order to stay competitive. To say the least, innovation is crucial. Many companies are focused on growth strategies and have designed programs to accelerate innovation. However, they often struggle to get formal invention disclosures from their R&D community that would allow them to adequately protect the inventions generated along the way. In particular, it is hard for many companies to get the right invention disclosures, those that will turn into valuable IP assets that support the company’s long-term strategy. The challenge for any invention program is to get the inventors to find the program inspiring and the invention disclosure process attractive and painless. Why is this so hard, and what can we do to reduce the pain in the invention disclosure submission process?
First, let’s take a look at the reality that many engineers and scientists face in their companies today. Submitting an invention disclosure may not be as smooth as you think. Most often, painful word documents or PDF forms have to be filled out. Old and outdated forms are often, sometimes by mistake, circulated and delay the invention disclosure process even further as information needs to be collected and re-submitted. This is causing not only time constraints, but also a great deal of frustration.
How do you get your inventors to submit their ideas in a timely and efficient manner? How do you reduce the effort for inventors to submit the needed information? How do you get the inventors to not find the process painful but actually enjoyable? These are essential questions, regardless of company size.
Engineers and Scientists Expect Modern Tools
News flash – times have changed. Employees are using new devices, such as tablets and smart phones, nice screens and great looking software applications. If not at work, they do it at home. Technological development has sped things up, and tech-savvy inventors don’t want to spend time filling out chunky old forms or working in old-fashioned databases. They want to submit ideas easily, simply and quickly in a system that is smart. They do not want to retype information that has already been submitted. They want – and expect – to work in a modern and user-friendly environment.
What Is the Solution?
Using an invention portal – a web-based application – is the easiest way to keep and maintain an invention disclosure database and improve the submission process. No more outdated forms, as the portal is always up to date. Relevant information, including business and market related input, is included. Inventors’ names and contact information are stored, kept and easily updated. Inventors can add co-inventors with a click and re-use information that is stored in the IP portal without having to re-type anything. Secure and automated password administration functionality saves time and makes the process seamless.
Preview of the IPfolio Inventors' Portal home screen.
A modern inventor portal does not only provide a robust database, but a user-friendly interface and search tool. No more screens that look like from the seventies. Inventors can easily look up their previous inventions and see where they are in the IP process.
Using an inventor portal is a great advantage even for companies with smaller IP portfolios, or companies just starting up their IP development program. An invention portal supports the invention process from the very start by asking the inventors the right questions, making it easy for inventors to submit accurate information, and reducing the time to keep the intellectual property database updated. Since the portal can be seamlessly integrated with the IP management system, it all comes together beautifully!
So what can companies do to ease the pain for inventors to submit invention disclosures? The design of the innovation program is of course very important, and we will cover that more in upcoming white papers. But a very good start is to give your inventors a modern and pleasant method for submitting their disclosures.
Announcing the IPfolio Inventors' Portal
You will not be surprised that IPfolio is rolling out a state-of-the-art Inventors’ Portal that integrates seamlessly with the tools in place for managing the remaining IP lifecycle. We will be updating our Product pages shortly with more detailed information. Stay tuned!