Navigating The IP Journey

Intellectual Property (IP) > Navigating The IP Journey

Tips on turning your ideas into valuable IP and money

They say the average human brain has 50,000 thoughts per day and for the inventive entrepreneurial types, a lot of those brain sparks are potentially the next big business idea. This coupled with the concept of multiple discovery (also known as simultaneous invention) which is the hypothesis that most scientific discoveries and inventions are made independently and more or less simultaneously by multiple scientists and inventors within a similar set time period, suggests maybe your ideas aren’t as new or unique after all.

Given the theory above and using it as a catalyst and motivator to protect your idea whilst also thinking about how you monetise your IP, we break down below how you can navigate this complex landscape.

  • Ideation – Ideas can be a dime a dozen. The necessary skill needed is to form a process to filter these ideas so you know which ones to focus on developing. Key questions to ask yourself are:
    • How unique is this idea?
    • Tip: Google and research similar ideas or do a patent search.
    • Does this idea really solve a big problem? If YES, what problem is it and who does it highly benefit?
  • What Comes First – There are a lot of moving parts from R&D to design, marketing, legal, financial skills, patent attorneys, finding good consultants is critical. Seek out experts who can clearly outline the pathway, have a simple process and can identify the costs up front!
  • Start with the End in Mind – Developing IP can be costly for both your time and money. Turning your idea into IP is one thing. Understanding how you’re going to commercialise it and turn it into revenue is another.
  • There are only a handful ways to commercialise your IP:
    • License
    • Sell the IP
    • Joint Venture
    • Go Direct To Market
  • The Who – Depending upon the type or classification of your Intellectual Property (IP), you’re going to need expert partners to help you along the way. Meet a few and pick partners who share the same values and are genuinely enthusiastic about your idea and are prepared to support you along the entire journey and are clear about what they will deliver and for how much.
  • The Need for Speed – Given somebody else may have also had a simultaneous brain spark, you must move with speed while making informed decision every step of way. From the time you file provisional patent, the clock is ticking fast.
  • Do The Math – Understand ALL the potential costs at every stage of your IP development. Sometimes a good way to validate your investment is to ask others if they would invest in the idea.
    • TIP! Understand your R.O.I. (Return of Investment). How long will it take for you to get the original investment in the IP development back and then how long to turn that into profitable revenue.
  • Show And Tell – In the early stages of IP development, desecration and confidentiality is critical. But once you have filed the provisional patent, get out there and spruik it to as many stakeholders as possible, especially those who you think might be able to help you commercialise it. The more feedback you get from the wisdom of the crowd the better chance you have of developing the idea to meet the market requirements.
  • Emotions – Remember humans have 50,000 thoughts per day and most of these are emotions. The process can be a roller coaster ride with success challenges and failures all being part of the process. Try not to let them affect your decision making. Try not to emotionally attached.
  • Remember the Four Ps:
    • Persistence – Drive is critical to make stuff happen, to keep moving the process forward.
    • Perseverance – You’re going to face challenges but stick at it .
    • Patience – Success does not happen overnight. It can sometime take years to get the desired outcomes and results.
    • Pragmatic – Make well-informed, unemotional decisions when it comes to investing your time and money.


Turning ideas into valuable IP isn’t for the faint-hearted. It requires lots of research to rationalise the idea and persistently finding the right partners to help you develop it into valuable IP. Do your homework. Get your idea in front of many people as possible to acquire constructive feedback and keep moving forward with conviction and speed.

About the author

Tristan Boyd has over 20 years of experience as a founder and entrepreneur. He is a reputable innovator and thought leader, and currently the Managing Director of Activate.

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