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Capturing Ideas

When you, your inventors, or your staff develop new ideas, one of the first things that you may want to do is share it. This sharing usually involves peers, salespeople, customers, investors, legal, and others. Although this instinct is quite understandable, it is a good idea to consider the ramifications of sharing prematurely.

Also, many innovative ideas can initially be hard to explain, simply because of their novelty. One of the things, to take some time and do early on, is to capture the ideas so that they are easier to communicate. Get them “down in writing” as soon as possible!

Initially, there is an original concept or “eureka” moment when an idea is brand new. If you are an engineer or have engineering staff, this is when the design specification begins. Understandably, these specifications are often too technical to be grasped by those outside of the designer's specialty. Basically, they must be “translated” in some way to communicate their concept to others. We can be there initially to gather an initial understanding of the idea.

Second, formal written communication is provided only to those who need to know. This includes company officers, program managers, and insiders. At this stage, we can help review the design by meeting with your creators and preparing suitable “disclosure” documentation. This material explains how it works and what it does to an audience knowledgeable in your industry.

Third, many ideas may become inventions. This commonly involves legal expertise. Consequently, the resources for this need to be carefully managed because costs can quickly exceed your budgetary restraints. We can help at this point by searching for existing technology that matches the disclosures. Depending on what is found, the appropriate directives for legal resources may be determined and limited.

Fourth, there is sales training and customer communications to advance to the market. This often involves documentation that provides for the development of training materials. It also includes general documentation to get the word out to the sales channel, customers, and technical support specialists.

Finally, there are formal ongoing documentation requirements as the concept moves further into the marketplace and starts generating revenue. This is primarily because many ideas are not novel enough to patent, but the concept is still quite profitable in the marketplace.

Once the legal risks to a product/service offering are addressed, a complete documentation set, based on the previously created information, may be drafted. Our background in both invention and market support is extensive.

We understand that technical document creation can be somewhat confusing and may not always promise a good Return on Investment. Despite this, our experience shows that it is essential to document a product, especially one that has many levels to its design. An appropriate document set should address the combined viewpoints of the installer, user, and maintainer to support its full potential.

Note that to fully capture an idea, it is essential to maximize its usefulness to all stakeholders. We can support a living documentation process to remain effective for its entire product/service life cycle.

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