EIRMA Insights 2014

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Upload the EIRMA's Insights 2014, a synthesis of recent activities:

EIRMA Insight is based on the discussions of senior industrial research and innovation practitioners at EIRMA meetings. 

Here you will find the EIRMA Insight of 2014:

Managing global IP and tax strategies  

As research and development (R&D) is globalised, companies may find that the needs of worldwide intellectual property (IP) management strategies clash with those of finance departments seeking to cut tax liabilities. Members of EIRMA's Special Group in Intellectual Asset Management (SIG II) met in Porto in November 2014 to discuss managing global IP portfolios, and dealing with interactions between IP management and tax-reduction strategies.

Presentations covered issues such as building a more effective licensing strategy at the Fraunhofer institutes, navigating the complexities of global IP strategies from Umicore and Schaeffler, how global IP and tax regimes interact - and how they are changing - by Bird&Bird, and insights into qualifying for High and New Technology Enterprise status in China, from BASF. 

This EIRMA Insight also includes updates on the progress of two SIG working groups, on information security, and on benchmarking corporate IP functions.

The Insight ends with a list of Action Points, things you can do today to better align your IP and tax strategies. Here are the first three: 

  • Learn about the advantages of IP box regimes outside your HQ country - but be aware that these are changing rapidly
  • Think about the way in which licensing schemes and transfer pricing can be used to move revenues around a group company - but be aware many such schemes are under scrutinity and liable to change
  • Recognise the impact of changing international guidelines on IP and transfer pricing on decisions within your company about where R&D is managed, conducted and funded

Members can download the Insights below.  

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Effective Knowledge Management Strategies for Informed Decision Making 

Companies spend a lot of time and money developing, storing and securing knowledge. But static knowledge doesn't do companies much good: to be valuable, knowledge has to flow. EIRMA members met at Nestlé headquarters in Vevey, Switzerland, to discuss the challenges and opportunities of knowledge management (KM), especially in the context of enabling better decision making. 

Presentations from Siemens, Philips Innovation Services, Celevere, Bekaert and Paris VIII University, focused on topics as diverse as: 

  • Internal knowledge-sharing platforms,
  • Global knowledge management practices, 
  • The nature of expertise,
  • The psychology sharing,
  • Social media as a market-research tool,
  • Extracting insights from the struture of knowledge, and
  • Revealing the value of knowledge management.

The Insight contains details of these presentations and the open discussions during the meeting. There is also a list of Action Points, things you can do today to improve access to knowledge in order to enhance corporate decision-making. Here are the first three of eight:

  • If you want people to share more, focus first on what each individual will get out of doing so,
  • If you get people engaged in sharing and the creation of communities of practice, ensure that these communities, real or virtual, are constantly encouraged and supported though active community management.
  • As communities grow, let them tell you how the tools should evolve - focusing on the tools first is likely to be less effective than focusing on user needs.      

Members can download the Insights below.  

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 Teaching Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Students to put their Ideas to work    

Europe needs to do better job of linking its academic base, which creates well-trained students and valuable research to industry, where those skills and insights can be put to use for economic and social benefit.

EIRMA is working with TuTech Innovation, Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH), Manchester Business Schiool (MBS) and Solvay to address this issue, in a project funded by the European Commission's Directorate General for Education and Culture (DG EAC), as part of the Lifelong Learning Programme (call 2013 - Knowledge Alliances).

The HEKATE project (HEKATE for Higher Education and enterprises Knowledge Alliances for the Training of Entrepreneurs) wants to connect postgraduate students with experienced innovation managers so they can understand how industry turns ideas into products and services.

This Insight outlines a discussion about how to achieve this held at a meeting organised by EIRMA and hosted by the European University Association. Read on to find out about: 

  • The Commission's view of how to bridge the divide between academia and industry
  • Industry's view of how to create an entrepreneurial culture
  • Students' concerns about being entrepreneurs
  • and details of nine different strategies through which EIRMA could help

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Big data: what does it mean for creativity?   

Can computers become creative members of your R&D team? In a fascinating webinar held as part of EIRMA Annual Conference, Abdel Labbi, member, IBM Academy of Technology; manager, information analytics, argued that yes, maybe they can. 

This Insight outlines his reasons for saying that. He suggests that recent developments in the analyses of large data sets, coupled with continuing improvments in computational capacity, are putting the age of creative computers within reach. 

The Insights lays out Labbi's argument, shows how the analytic powers that we have now have been applied to complex industrial problems such as positioning the wind turbines, and reports his advice to industrial problems such as the positioning of wind turbines, and reports his advice to industrial R&D professionals who eager to start working on this new boundary between computational analysis and computational creativity. It also tells you why you should always think twice before accepting a drink at an IBM cocktail party... 

The Insight includes a link to a video of the original webinar, for those who want to know more. 

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Creativity in Innovation: Making the most of internal creativity and external inspiration  

The 2014 annual conference discussed nurturing creativity in R&D including: 

  • The national and European context for research and innovation
  • sourcing and sorting ideas
  • the role of openness
  • diversity as a competitive advantage
  • new ways to gather and assess market intelligence
  • insights from psychology
  • the impact of the research environment
  • and the role of business models in shaping innovation thinking

In this EIRMA Quicktake, you can learn:

  • why the number of ideas you have doesn't matter
  • why open innovation won't solve all your problems at a stroke
  • the good and bad sides of increased diversity
  • new ways to think about the personnalities in your teams that can lead to better management
  • new ways to understand the business enviroment
  • the power of place
  • the value of thinking about business models in innovation
  • what Responsible Innovation is and why you should care about it

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Protecting Trade Secrets 

Most innovation starts as a trade secret - an idea that shows promise and yet is too immature to be protectable by more formal intellectual property (IP) tools, such as patents. Keeping an idea secret may protect it for a while: defining it as a ‘trade secret’ may offer protection over the longer term. Unfortunately the world lacks a shared definition of what a ‘trade secret’ is, so the protection it offers and the remedies available when misused or misappropriated vary from country to country.

In this EIRMA Insight you can discover:

  •  The best ways to handle trade secrets in globalised corporations 
  •  some of the key country-specific issues to watch out for  
  •  and hear about progress towards a unified European definition of trade secrets - and a unitary patent 


The Insight is based on presentations and discussions at a meeting of EIRMA’s Special interest Group on Intellectual Asset Management held in Stockholm in May 2014.

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Boosting Private R&D Investment in Europe 

Investment in R&D is now a global decision: companies spend their money where they are likely to see the greatest returns. At the latest of EIRMA's annual meetings with European Commission policymakers at the highest level of DG Research and Innovation, members were able to hear from Robert-Jan Smits, director general, and colleagues how they are shaping framework conditions to ensure that Europe remains a competitive place in which to fund industrial R&D.

In this EIRMA Insight, you will hear from:

  •  Robert-Jan Smits, director general, DG Research and Innovation at the European Commission, on how the Horizon 2020 programme is focusiong on bringing research to market 
  •  Roman Arjona, chief economist, DG R&I, on the importance of sustaining R&D in Europe  
  •  Jan van der Biesen, vice president of public R&D programs at Philips Research, on industry's view of investing in R&D in Europe 
  •  Clara de la Torre, director, key enabling technologies, DG R&I, on its strategy for funding six knowledge and capital-intensive technologies that cut across sectors 
  •  Urban Wass, senior vice president, research and innovation policy, Volvo, on the long-term gains from engaginf with European programmes 
  •  Chris Shilling, consultant at NewHow KnowHow, on the challenges facing the pharma industry and how European programmes can help
  •  Ruxandra Draghia-Akli, director of health, DG R&I, on the way in which the Innovative Medicines Initiative (1 and 2) provides a new model for industrial collaboration

There is also a discussion about the tension between achieving shareholder value and stakeholder value in an R&D context. 

Find more about all these topics by downloading the EIRMA Insight here: 

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Improving knowledge sharing and discovery   

Companies spend their R&D budgets, in part, on developing new knowledge, but often find it difficult to access that knowledge. They face two main issues: 

  • Capturing the tacit knowledge that people develop through experience,
  • And structuring the explicit knowledge held in lab, notebooks, research reports, spreadsheets, databases, presentations, etc so that can be found easily. 

In this EIRMA Insight, based on a meeting of EIRMA's Special Interest Group on Knowledge Management, you'll find practical acvice about overcoming these problems from fellow industrial practitioners.

Find out about: 

  • Helping share their knowledge - and what might be stopping them doing so 
  • The processes that leading companies such as Michelin, Nestlé and Tata Steel use to capture and share knowledge
  • The latest software tools to help with search - and why Google may not be the right answer for your business
  • And what it takes to build and sustain a successful community of practice

Find more about all these topics by downloading the EIRMA Insight here: 

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Managing an innovation portfolio  

If your company runs more than one R&D project at a time, it may make sense to manage them as a portfolio rather than as a discrete projects. EIRMA members met in Geneva in March to discuss the benefits of a portfolio approach, to share the processes and tools they use, and explore some of the cultural and risk-management issues they face. They also offered advice about some of the factors that contribute to managing an innovation portfolio successfully.

In this Insight you'll discover:

  • The importance of creating and sustaining an innovation culture, and of shaping it to see 'failure' as a necessary part of the innovation process 
  • Insights into the uses of technology scouting, technology roadmapping, process harmonisation, and metrics 
  • Risk management strategies
  • The role of IP management in innovation management - and some insider tips about how to cut costs
  • And a look at some success factors for innovation portfolio management

Find more about all these topics by downloading the EIRMA Insight here: 

Links and Downloads: 

EIRMA's Guide to Business Model Innovation  

Getting started with the most effective form of innovation
According to a 2004 study, developping new products and services is the least effective way to innovate in business. The most effective? Rethinking how you combine your business's skills, resources and relationships to serve customers.
In this EIRMA guide to business model innovation, experienced industrial innovators Corina Kuiper and Bengt Järrehult lead the reader through a practical, effective and enjoyable step by step approach to exploring new business models. You learn: 
  • How to use the "business model canvas" pioneered by Alexander Osterwalder and now widely used in industry 
  • How to get more out of using the canvas by employing additional tools developed by Järrehult as part of his Business Model Plus or Value-Based Canvas 
  • New ways of thinking to enable business model innovation 
  • The secrets of "effectuation", which describes how entrepreneurs think, decide and act 
  • And why, according to Kuiper, developing new businesses is just like having children... 
To watch Bengt Järrehult outlining the business model plus canvas, click here.
To watch Corina Kuiper discussing the realities of implementing a new business model, click here.
EIRMA members can download EIRMA's guide to business model innovation, the original presentations, supporting PowerPoint presentations and Excel spreadsheets here.  
Find more about all these topics by downloading the EIRMA Insight here: 
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Exploring the Boundaries of Open Innovation  

Open innovation has been around as a named concept for more than a decade, and as a practice for longer than that. Although its premise - enhancing your innovation process by developping a rich ecosystem of partners - is attractive, it's not something-for-nothing deal. EIRMA representatives met at their annual Round Table in Brussels in January 2014 to discuss the reality of OI, and the limits of its use.
The Insight also includes a number of Action points, things that you can do today to improve the effectiveness of your open innovation strategies. Here are three of them:
  • Small companies take an existential risk when they work with large companies - respect their bravery and be pragmatic about adapting your processes to accomodate them 
  • In taking on wider OI strategies, recognise that cultural change is necessary and embrace it
  • Be wary of driving OI projects and consortia too close to market
The January meeting also covered two more topics: the launch of a Responsible innovation task force, and an introduction to HEKATE, a European Commission project to train tomorrow's entrepreneurs. 
The Responsible Innovation taskforce has been launched as a response to increasing public awareness of innovation, with consequent demands for greater accountability and more legislation to ensure that the work of innovators is benign. The taskforce's aim is to think about what it means to be a responsible innovator, in order to come up with a cogent position and communication tools for engaging with a wide range of stakeholders. 
The HEKATE project, on the other hand, is designed to help industry and academia to work together to encourage technological entrepreneurship. The plan is to form "knowledge alliances" to encourage strucutred, results-driven co-operations between universities and companies, by getting senior industrial R&D managers to be more engaged with universities. 

Find more about all these topics by downloading the EIRMA Insight here: 

Links and Downloads: 


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