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#933: Letting Your IP Go To Waste

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Updated: Friday, December 5, 2008
Over the years, I have neglected to capture the Intellectual Property I have developed. Now that I am writing a book, it is a painstaking process to recreate it. Is there a shortcut?

A couple of thoughts come to mind. First, IP has a shelf life and the value of your IP to you and to the market may differ. Your IP from ten years ago may not be as valuable as you think and maybe not worth the effort to recreate it. You may believe you have created something unprecedented and unique. Or you may believe that there is nothing new under the sun but there is good money to be made repackaging old material. Whatever way you think, as long as it is something you created without benefit of someone else's work, it is your IP and you have a right to package it into a book. Your editor and buyers can decide if it is valuable to them.

Second, it is easier to retain IP than to regenerate it. Most consultants have a fatal habit of finishing a project and running off to the next one. All the processes, data, relationships, graphics, text, workshop or seminar materials, letters, talking points, models and survey data you created rests, unstructured, on your hard drive and in your lateral files. It is likely, as the months go by, you will forget what was critical and what was not, and the task of doing file storage triage may become more daunting than you want to bear, so you don't so it. This is where your IP went (it is still there if you care to go get it).

Tip: Build into a project, even if you classify it as administration or R&D, enough time to do an after action review (also called a post mortem) on your project. Here is where you write up the project, secure references, return proprietary materials, discard duplicates, organize highest value materials, file original graphics/slides/collateral that you could repurpose, and organize project materials for easy retrieval. Next time you won't mourn the loss of you IP.

© 2008 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  intellectual property  knowledge assets  practice management 

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