How To Start An Invention..

One of these lies in just how the world manages the creation and ownership of inventions and concepts. A protectionist approach to Cool Invention Ideas is made to protect and prolong the lifecycle of existing technologies, and allow innovators to capture the profits from their creations. In a paper published with colleagues from universities in Germany and India, we examined how this also makes it harder for new and more sustainable technologies to be developed and adopted. That explains why there are now other approaches being used to move key sectors to more sustainable systems and end this status quo.

Electric car manufacturer Tesla, has become doing just that. Tesla CEO Elon Musk “shocked” the planet in 2014 as he announced that his company was joining the open source movement and handing out its patents for free. It is essential to understand the rationale here. Why would a company who had worked so hard to develop and protect its technology looking at the global car manufacturer competitors suddenly give its technology away for free?

Tesla initially developed a patent portfolio to protect its technology. However, Tesla’s concern that it will be overwhelmed once established car makers ramped up their creation of electric cars never arrived at pass. Instead, it saw the electrical car market stagnate at under 1% of total vehicle sales. So Tesla changed its strategy from trying to prevent others from building electric cars to trying to encourage them into the market.

Part of the reasoning here is when more electric cars are designed, then more battery recharging stations will likely be built too. This might make electric cars become more visible, as well as a more conventional choice. Tesla believes that the open intellectual property strategy can strengthen instead of diminish its position by building the dimensions of the electrical car market, and for that reason, build its own share of the total automotive market.

This kind of careful management of New Invention at company level, backed up by policy-level awareness, can be a powerful method to support the same kinds of transitions to more sustainable technologies in other industries too.

Energy supply faces a range of difficulties: the depletion of natural resources; air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions; nuclear risks; and security of supply. Water supply sector is fixed by water scarcity, pollutants, extreme environmental events including flooding and expenses related to supplying water to communities in poor countries and remote communities. The agri-food sector, meanwhile, is under pressure to sustainably produce more food and also to address malnutrition in poor countries.

For these industries to navigate a path around these problems, new knowledge and also the innovations that follow is going to be essential. And in knowledge economies, intellectual property can either be an enabler or perhaps an inhibitor.

When the ownership of intellectual property is fragmented inside an industry, it can slow down technology innovation and uptake, like inside the electronics industry where multiple players own complementary patents. However, firms can instead start their innovation processes and depart from jealously guarded, internal cultures, where intellectual property is used to briaac and prolong lifecycles. This change may see knowledge sharing that leads to accelerated innovation cycles as well as a more rapid uptake of sustainable alternatives throughout a sector: just what Tesla was hoping for in electric vehicles.

This method to intellectual property, so-called “open IP”, is well advanced and mature within the software industry and healthcare. It has given usage of life-saving medicines to thousands of people, particularly in developing countries through patent pools, such as the Medicine Patent Pool. This kind of project relies on multinational pharmaceutical companies sharing their Product Licensing Inventhelp, but small companies can also play a strategic roles in creating these new, more sustainable systems, and it’s not every about open IP.

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