Open Innovation From A Practitioner's Perspective

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Crowdsourcing the Patent Application Process

Very interesting story for the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on using volunteer labor to help evaluate patent applications and uncover prior art which may be relelvant:

http://www.onthecommons.org/content.php?id=2414

It’s a great idea, one that makes a lot of sense, and perhaps it is the ONLY solution that can address the enormous backlog of applications (> 1 million). While still in it’s very early stages I applaud the move by the USPTO.

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Mapping Innovation Clusters (McKinsey Report)

So McKinsey released a report on innovation clusters. You can find their interactive map here:

http://whatmatters.mckinseydigital.com/flash/innovation_clusters/

My biggest problem is that this map is created based solely on patent data: total number of patents, patent growth, diversity of patents. This is one of the most over-used metrics possible! As some may have expected,  Silicon Valley stood out as the leader of the pack. I happen to live in Silicon Valley and do believe it is one of the most innovative regions of the world. But not because of patents. It’s because of the tolerance for failure, the diversity of of it’s labor force, the world class universities, the presence of a dynamic investment community, and probably one hundred other reasons.

I believe in the value of protecting ones ideas, but I also value even more those companies that are willing to SHARE their know-how. It can be done. By some estimates, up to 80% of filed patents are never commercialized. So by definition that makes Silicon Valley the LEAST productive region in the world!! And we all know that is simply not true.

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