Intellectual Property: How Tangible is it? - December 30th, 2006

Many academics have grasped the superior economic value of intellectual over tangible property in today’s economy. A recent book by Henry Chesbrough, titled Open Business Models, has got me thinking. He, by the way, is the director of the Center for Open Innovation at the University of California, Berkeley. The Core of his book is a taxonomy of six business models that manage innovation with increasingly more effectiveness and efficiency.

And so, I started thinking about ‘intellectual property.’ What does it mean? What could it mean? Mr. Chesbrough seems to mean focus on the concrete as in patents. In my experience one of the strongest areas of IP is – the human spirit and the energy that people bring and share. I was so struck by this during my work in South Africa. No matter the circumstance, such as the devastating AIDS epidemic, the people were strong of spirit and resilient. They celebrated with artwork on fences, theatrical productions, and their care of each other.

I ponder the incredible impact of the Bill Gates Foundation. Imagine turning the tide globally with AIDS and Malaria. And, then there is the intangible impact -- the way he wishes to operate the Foundation – to have it self-destruct in 50 years or to serve its mission fully not holding back. Now that is one mighty intangible. Perhaps there should be a Type 7 that focuses on raising the global bar of heath and welfare.

How could we and should we thinking about IP?

posted by Fran Deutsch at 01:51:32 PM permalink | comments

“Yabba-dabba-doo!” - December 30th, 2006

“Yabba-dabba-doo!”  “I hate those meeces to pieces!”  “Smarter than the average bear!” These catch phrases are well known among the crowd who grew up on Joe Barbera’s and Bill Hanna’s.  Any bells ringing?  These two guys wrote Tom and Jerry. What’s not much known about them is that despite accolades, 13 Oscar nominations and seven wins, they lost their jobs at MGM when the cartoon studio closed in the late ‘50s

One of life’s long perplexing questions: What to do when given lemons? Some make lemonade, but there is lemonade and there is lemonade. These guys persisted, adapted, and went on to make Augie Doggy and Doggie Daddy, Yogi Bear and Boo Boo, Pixie and Dixie, Ruff and Reddy or the Flintstones and the Jetsons. It seemed that their formula for success was the dynamics of the ‘buddy system’ or the workings of a team.

What strikes me is how they pioneered markets and forged formats, styles, shows, characters that work on various outlets games, iPods, and gadgets not even conceived. That quality of being adaptable, the quality of connectivity, and the quality of being brandable. . . seems directly correlated with longevity.

Perhaps Mr. Barbera who past away this December 2006 really walked the talk. Why? He was 95 years old and was working tenaciously on a project, like all those preceeding, when he died. Joe adapted his animation to different technologies. He connected to his characters, portraying their antics in genuine form. He collaborated with Hanna bringing out the best in each other. He connected with audiences, young and old, from all over the world. You can recognize a Joe Barbera character. . . they are branded.

What are your thoughts and feelings about – adaptability, connectivity, and branding? How do they impact your life or the lives of those around you?

posted by Fran Deutsch at 01:51:32 PM permalink | comments

Of Ties and Mothballs - December 30th, 2006

One, two, three. . . 48, 49, “you can do it,” 50. The time was 1964. The place was a high school gym class. The purpose was to follow the Fitness Program set forth by the Kennedy administration to make the youth of America healthy. We all were gobbling up trans fats, however. Margarine was the craze, although frankly it was disaster for cooking -- burn baby burn.

Fast forward to 2006, we have been declared the heaviest nation on earth. We have the highest obesity rate of any country. Wow. Individuals have taken heed. Technology has designed interactives that are likely to melt fat away, if we don’t destroy the house or decapitate an onlooker in the process. New York City has declared a war on trans fat, outlawing it in all restaurants. Various restaurants have done the same. The avalanche is likely to follow.

Yes, things sure do seem to come and go. Wide ties one year and the narrowest of narrow the next. But each time the pendulum swings, we do not go back to precisely the same spot retracing the exact steps. Our technology has taken us forward to enable Sony’s PlayStation 3 and a host of PS3 Games. Now exercising is while we play. Multi-tasking appears to be what we do. We use cell phones, IPods, PDAs while doing a host of things. Sometimes this gets us in trouble and many states are now putting laws on the books to prevent phone use while driving. Guidelines and standards are not immutable, although it seems we don’t go back and clean up the books much, many towns still have hitching laws.

There is a movement a foot to return to performance-based training, to establish the clearest of metrics and to focus on the most specific of skill sets. In principle, why not develop a company skills-based ‘six pack.’ We have learned so much about organizations, team development, and leadership since the last skills-based pendulum swing. There appears to be more to successful business and leadership development. Have we forgotten about: 1) Daniel Goleman’s many publications on Emotional Intelligence; 2) The Fifth Discipline by Peter Senge who emphasizes the learning organization and the importance of an open system; or 3) Collin’s messages about passion, vision, and values in Built to Last and Good to Great?

Should not our challenge be to integrate and synthesize competence-based learning within a broader system of focus and potential impact? Rather than viewing it as an either or should we not be considering it, as both? Deep sixing wide ties means preventing individuals and organizations from potential growth. Where are the mothballs?

posted by Fran Deutsch at 01:51:32 PM permalink | comments