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#402: Share Your Innovation With Your Clients

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Updated: Tuesday, September 28, 2010
I know people more readily accept ideas they generate themselves. However, there are times I also know that one of my proprietary concepts would be perfect for a client. I am torn between taking credit (because I worked hard to create it) and letting them use it (so they get the value they deserve).

Consultants who generate a lot of ideas, approaches and methodologies face this often, but the steady stream of new ideas contains the answer to your dilemma. We most protect the ideas that we think we can't replace. If you are generating state of the art (or at least so you think) concepts, then even if you let a client use one, there will be more. But even if you only have one or two proprietary methodologies, there is still away for both of you to win.

You do not have to "give away" anything. Clients respect (or should) your intellectual property and letting them use your construct to develop solutions to their problems is integral to what you do as a consultant. It is, in fact, the basis of your value and, even if they use your methodology to arrive at a solution, it is perfectly appropriate to ask them to honor your intellectual property rights and to provide full attribution.

Tip: Ask to prepare (or at least approve) the final graphics of the client work product featuring your visual concept or text they use to describe the source of the methodology. This way, you will be assured that your property rights are respected and that proper attribution is made. A client using your methodology is not an assault on your creation, but a great way to increase its value through publicity in "real" use.

© 2010 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  client relations  innovation  intellectual property  knowledge assets 

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