Earlier this week, the Syracuse University New Technology Law Center, Enitiative, and the Entrepreneurship Club at SU hosted an event called “Business Model Innovation in 3 Critical Industries” at SU’s School of Information Studies.
The featured speakers who offered their expertise and insights were:
The featured speakers and attendees of “Business Model Innovation in 3 Critical Industries.” Photo courtesy of Stephanie Santoso.
Designed as an open forum discussion, the speakers talked about the importance of innovation for organizations, illustrating this by discussing some of the key developments taking place with regards to research and innovation in the following three dynamic industries: 1) information technology; 2) medical devices ; 3) media. Below are some insights into how innovation is perceived in these industries, how innovation is being accomplished in organizations, and where the future of innovation lies in these markets.
IBM is the company which currently holds the largest number of patents in the world. In fact, it makes in excess of $2 billion in licensing each year. The company is very invested in developing research relationships with academic institutions. However, partnerships with universities can be challenging, since each institution may have different needs and requirements, impacting the contract which outlines the ownership of intellectual property developed in collaboration with IBM. Many companies face these issues, despite wanting to form these relationships. Despite these challenges, IBM and other firms recognize the value to R&D of working with faculty members and students. Tiffany Townsend of IBM notes that there is not a one-size fits all solution- it’s about finding a way to make individual partnerships between a university and corporation work.
Data ownership is a big issue when it comes to the development and testing of medical devices. Developments in data mining and analytics have enabled companies to utilize the data they have collected throughout prototype testing to determine whether a product is truly effective. In some cases, data collection can also be used to monitor and protect the intellectual property of companies working in the sciences. Robert Hallenbeck of BD Biosciences describes how some companies use virtual data room solutions (VDRs) such as Merrill Datasite to facilitate IP licensing. Intellectual property can be stored on VDRs and clients are provided with individual log-in details to have a customized view of only the information to which they have been pre-approved access. Special features allow the organization to view who has logged-in to the VDR, which pieces of IP have been viewed and how long sessions last. This way, unusual behavior and potential licensing violations can be more easily flagged.
In some cases, such as with regards to newspapers, the media has suffered from what Clayton Christensen calls “The Innovator’s Dilemma”- the idea that highly successful companies are effective at adapting to sustaining technologies but fail when it comes to integrating disruptive technologies into their business strategies. Kurt Wimmer of Covington and Burling describes how much of the innovation taking place in digital media is focused on targeted advertising. This type of advertising provides users with customized ads and offers based on behavioral patterns. In the future, companies whose base their revenue models on advertising will increasingly seek to cater ads to the preferences of users. While targeted advertising has already proliferated sites designed to be viewed on desktops and laptops, advertising agencies and design firms will be looking to creatively expand its use in the mobile space. It is important to note that there are serious challenges with regards to targeted advertising such as ensuring user privacy and providing proper informed consent.
If you’re looking to learn more about how innovation takes place and why it’s important, I recommend reading THE TEN FACES OF INNOVATION by Tom Kelley. It will definitely change the way you think about what it takes to come up with innovative ideas and how to successfully execute them!
Source: The Ten Faces of Innovation website, 2005
Have you seen any recent interesting examples of innovation in action? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section!
Stephanie Santoso is a 2nd year Masters student in the Information Management program at Syracuse University. She is interested in developing policies that will help maintain users’ privacy and data security while preserving the openness and innovation of the Internet. She received her B.S. in Marketing and Media Studies from the University of Virginia. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.