Image courtesy of Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee at

US President John F Kennedy once suggested: “My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”

It’s not only a memorable quote; it’s a powerful mindset manoeuvre for ambitious innovators.

My work with technology commercialisation started with reviewing research outcomes from university teams and working out the best commercial pathways for their discoveries. When discussing these technologies with Australian and international organisations I was constantly amazed at how narrowly they viewed the technology.

It got me thinking about the difference between companies that dilly dally about investing in new technologies and their competitors that leave them behind.

An idea (or a research outcome) can have a range of applications. And sure, from an organisation’s perspective it is important that it adds value to that organisation.

But the really smart companies take this to a completely different level – they treat the idea as an asset.

What I mean by this is that they look at the idea from the perspective of what the idea can do instead of what they can do with the idea.

Looking at an idea from the perspective of what one organisation can do with it considers what resources are required to drive (and derive) value from that idea. This can be rather limiting in terms of impact and therefore value.

Another way of looking at the idea is to explore what it could achieve using your resources plus resources from others.

Or thinking about what other industries could benefit from applying the same technology to solve slightly different problems.

This means the value of the idea could transcend what the owner of the idea or a licensing organisation can achieve with it, and generate even greater value for more enterprises.

While possibly a bit on the radical side for many corporate chiefs, this second approach aims to create idea assets – investable items which other organisations will want, increasing their value again.

Many companies hold back from investing in new technologies because they fear the return won’t be cost effective for them.

Changing that mindset, however, and adopting an idea asset perspective can dramatically change the potential impact of an idea. That’s transformational innovation.

Impact innovation Group has been helping enterprises of all sizes transform their industries for more than a decade. Contact us to find out how we could help you transform yours.

– Brian Ruddle, Managing Director

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