Few "Innovative" Companies
~Andy Gibbs, first published in www.ipfrontline.com
Most of us who have been in the business world for
a while (and some freshly-minted MBAs) are well familiar with Theory
of Hierarchies of Technology Adoption.
This theory, as it goes, suggests that there are 4
of 5 primary classifications of technology adopters:
a) the early adopters who can identify opportunities
that justify the investment in new technologies – and who
may even profit handsomely from beating their competition to adopt
b) the early majority, who follow the early adopter's lead, but
are more risk adverse,
c) the late majority who are not only risk adverse, but are skeptical
of new technologies (think of axe men woodcutters who distrusted
d) and the laggards, the most cautious and price sensitive –
but who in the end will extol the benefits of the new technology.
Now, think "Google". Google uses latent
semantic indexing for example in indexing web pages – and
we ALL take Google for granted – to find the best products,
websites, travel deals, and so forth.
Now, think "multi-national technology leaders"
– and many well known companies will instantly come to mind.
Yet even when these companies' most important assets
are ultimately responsible for generating the revenue that pays
employees' salaries (their intellectual property), the LAST place
they look to advance their technology, high tech knowledge, competitive
intelligence, or patent
strategy is toward Latent Semantic Indexing for their
patent search engine.
Two years ago, BusinessWeek got it right when it said
our Latent Semantic Analysis technology (the next generation advanced
linguistics search engine) was "Beyond Google".
Since then, the early adopters have already replaced
their legacy patent search engines with PatentCafe's Intellectual
Capital Office (ICO™) Suite - www.patentcafe.com.
To what benefit? The early adopters are paying slightly
more for advanced ICO patent search technology, but find if "overwhelmingly
easy to use", and relevancy-ranked results "were obtained
and sorted in half the time". Bottom line – more intelligence,
faster results, more cost savings.
Perhaps the Theory of Hierarchies of Technology Adoption
is indeed correct – and as early adoption of advanced patent
search engines goes, some will innovate to exploit and protect their
innovations, the rest remain – at least for now – in
There's another axiom used in the business world –
sometimes, "people just don't know what they don't know".
When they make their own "discovery" on
the same timeline as their friends and colleagues, they start to
fall into line with other early majority... and the march to technology
adoption continues along its predictable path.
The surprise is that even technology innovators are
not really innovators – but followers. I wonder if it's time
to outsource innovation, too.