Harvesting External Innovation: Managing External Relationships and Intellectual Property

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Gower Publishing, Ltd., Sep 1, 2012 - Business & Economics - 208 pages

A fundamental change in the way organisations approach innovation is taking place. It involves cooperating and collaborating with external parties in the area of innovation and in the research and development of products and services and is driven by the simple realisation that not all the smart people work for just one organisation – it is necessary to work with smart people outside the company.

Few intellectual property books concentrate on external innovation and more particularly on dealing with external inventors and handling their inventions. Harvesting External Innovation is different. It begins by examining the broad subject of innovation, stressing the need to understand its forms and phases, ways and means to encourage innovation. It then addresses the growing phenomenon of external innovation, where companies are cooperating and collaborating with a variety of external parties, driven by a passion for innovation. Intellectual property, especially patents, plays a fundamental role promoting and protecting innovation, regardless of whether that innovation comes from internal employees or persons external to the company. Donal O'Connell specifically examines this responsibility. A number of different approaches to engaging with the external innovator community are then considered, together with real life case studies. Harvesting External Innovation discusses in depth how best to handle intellectual property matters, how to actually work with these external inventors and how to handle their inventions, including a suggested process and check list.

The critical importance of innovation to business, the role that intellectual property and patents play in promoting and protecting such innovation, and the growing phenomenon of external innovation, means this book is a must read.


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Well written book with very usable content for those concerned about intellectual property.


1 Not All the Smart People Work for You
2 Innovation
3 External Innovation
4 The External Innovator Community
5 Intellectual Property
6 Different Approaches
7 How to Handle Intellectual Property Matters
8 Intellectual Property Terms and Conditions
11 Working with Your Suppliers
12 Innovating with Communities
13 Joe Public
14 Open Standards and Intellectual Property
15 Help and Support
16 The Key to Success
17 Conclusion

9 Dealing with External Inventors
10 Working with Universities

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About the author (2012)

Donal O'Connell is Adjunct Professor at Imperial College Business School and the Owner and Managing Director of Chawton Innovation Services Ltd, offering consultancy, coaching and training in the areas of innovation and intellectual property management.

A former Director of Intellectual Property Rights at Nokia, he has a long and varied experience in the global wireless telecommunications industry, having worked for periods in UK, USA, Finland, and Hong Kong. Donal graduated from the National Institute of Higher Education, Limerick, Ireland, with a Degree in Electronic Engineering.

Donal has already published one book on patent creation called 'Inside the Patent Factory', (Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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