Typically intelligent (and very nice) people I work with say, “We’ve got some excellent intellectual property”.
I say, “Well, whoopee.” (in my head, with professional respect, obviously). (Please note, I’m paid to think this. I’d be utterly useless to my clients if I simply rejoiced and celebrated with them).
Let me explain…
I’m privileged and honoured to work with mostly polite and intelligent professionals. I admire and enjoy working with these people.
These people are often very proud of their intellectual property, or their intellectual prowess, and I get why. They’ve spent their life achieving wins, getting things right, doing well within the system they’ve kept themselves in. They’ve studied, worked and thought hard, and have come up with something to be proud of.
(Notice how in a competitive market place the above paragraph means absolutely nothing, but ssshhhh…carry on…we don’t want to distract the person who’s flexing their intellectual muscles right now in the mirror.)
If they could just transfer their pride on to their paying customers in some sort of commercialised form, we’d all be winners.
It’s clear when in writing (like now) that intellectual property isn’t necessarily worth much unless it adds value to other people.
“I’m great at what I do and I love doing it – it’s just the others!” doesn’t cut it. Seems kind of selfish…
YOU NEED THE OTHERS! And they need you too!
So what’s your plan for connecting your IP, your ideas, and creating real value? (Value is in the eye of the beholder. It’s what your customers say it is.)
Ideas and IP take you to the halfway line. “We have excellent IP” to me reads as “we’re great at getting to the halfway line”. And at the halfway line you score zero.
Someone out there is crying out for your help. Your job is to define them, reach them, then make your IP useful and available to them at the right point in their decision process.
When is that? When in their decision process or workflow do they most need you? When do their pains require an intellectual superhero? When are you the person for the job? Find that and you’ll find your real value.
No matter what work you do or who you work for, all of us have to add value to others. You can do it generously, by giving, sharing, or by trading or selling. But one way or another you have to contribute to others, or it isn’t ‘value’. The ball is only of value once it has been caught.
We have to make others better off than they were before they met us. How much better off? Enough that they are moved to tell a friend and want to hear from us again.
I’m sure your IP and your ideas are great. But I’m not the person who you need to confirm this. Your job is not complete until you find who is, and ask them.