Working from home ……. Why not think like your competitor?
Every business has competition, whether it be:
• Other Intellectual Property, patents, trademarks, design rights
• An alternative way to offer the benefits your product or solution delivers
• A company working on the same or a similar solution
• A big player with the capability to drive down costs and price you out of the market
• A company with a higher profile, brand or with a greater marketing budget
Add real value to your business by considering the following questions during the time you are working from home:
• Map the patent landscape – concentrate on the claims of your own Patents and those from other inventors working in the same technical field. Are there gaps in your patent coverage? How would you get around your own patents – can you come up with ideas to close those gaps? Are you confident you have freedom to operate, if not how can you strengthen your case by developing your IP portfolio?
• Brainstorm alternative solutions to the problem that your technology is seeking to solve. Ask the question, “if you were leading a competitor company what action would you take to beat your own company’s products in the market?” Once identified, this helps define your development and future IP strategy.
• Do you have a technology or product roadmap (see the following link for more guidance: https://www.ifm.eng.cam.ac.uk/insights/roadmapping/improve-your-roadmap/).
From what you know about your competitors could you predict what their product roadmap looks like and how you can get to market first or offer an improved solution, what is your USP?
• Revisit the SWOT analysis you performed when coming up with the concept for your product or service. Have any of the assumptions changed, do you have more up to date intelligence about recent IP published, what have your competitors presented at conferences or demonstrated at tradeshows etc.? Is your value proposition still well founded?
• What grants have your competitors won (e.g. Innovate UK grants in the UK or EU funded Horizon 2020 projects). Who are the partners in collaborative projects – understanding the partner networks of your competitors will help inform what technical capability your competition has, but more importantly what they are missing (i.e. one of their possible weaknesses or threats)?
• Is your product/Service part of an ecosystem, if so, can your product be commercially successful if it is standalone? If not what components of the ecosystem are you missing and who can you collaborate with to provide them?