Building Business Empathy

Now that we’re almost in Spring, we’ve been thinking about the rest of 2023 and what we can to do make it as collaborative as possible. One way we can do this is to work backwards in order to see what dissuades collaborators from coming together. For example, we’ve found that IP (Intellectual Property) is often a stumbling block. So if this is the case, what do we do about it? Well, business empathy is an excellent start.
100%Open has been helping the suits meet the sneakers for nearly 15 years. There are many barriers to effective open innovation and none is higher for the sneakers (start-ups) than the fear of having their intellectual property stolen or diluted in some way. Put yourself in their shoes if you’re not already wearing them. You have a uniquely brilliant idea, invest savings and years to perfect it and it’s finally ready. Along comes 100%Open asking you to risk all that investment and future profit on a potential multi-national scale partner with scary lawyers and opaque processes. It’s no wonder that labs and cupboards around the world are filled with unrealised innovation potential. This is the problem that our open innovation tools are designed to fix.

In our view there are three steps to opening up collaboration:

  • First: create an IP strategy so you have thought about how you are going to manage it.
  • Second: appoint a Trusted Agent who can intermediate through a ‘Chinese wall’ style arrangement.
  • Third: negotiate a project with the Suit rather than the final deal. Empathy works both ways and it is important to understand the position of the larger partner too. They will be concerned with risk and reward and it’s very hard to obtain an accurate idea of the in-market value of your innovation at this stage. Value may even be seriously underestimated.

Business Empathy sounds like a contradiction in terms – after all, many people equate business with clever strategising for competitive advantage. Open innovation needs a different, more enlightened approach in which strong partnerships are built on mutual understanding and appreciation of very different priorities and motivations. IP management is only one area of business empathy that we all need to work on, but it’s a great place to start. Check out our IP Strategy tool below as a first step to developing your business empathy.

We’d love to hear how business empathy resonates with you and how you’ll be implementing it in your practises going forward.

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