Bruce Schneier being quoted in an article about security is expected. It would be strange if he were not quoted. He is the world’s leading expert on security and he’s published something daily for years.
I’ve posted a few things about medical care and about security but the article referenced was not about security or medical care, it was about flying cars, accidents, and predicting innovations. If you knew that Bruce Schneier and I were friends you might think the author who referenced both of us was also a friend, he is not. So, is this a weird coincidence or is our writing somehow related to us being friends and that commonality attracted the author who referenced us?
The article suggests using trust relationships to provide security for medical data. Whether the author knew it or not he proved his point when he referenced both Bruce and I.
Securing intellectual property is a tricky problem. The growing trend towards open innovation methods makes it even more confusing. In reality what you’re trying to achieve is securing the value you can gather from the intellectual property.
Non-disclosure agreements are one way but those often make people unwilling to participate. You can attempt to give members of the focus group some benefit for keeping it quiet. Perhaps offer them some shares for the products? Or maybe just offer future cash payments contingent on it remaining secret? This is the carrot versus the stick of a non-disclosure agreement.
Bruce Schneier has said many times that secrecy can’t be the basis of security. Ideas get out. So you need layers that catch the failures of each other. That way no single failure will penetrate the barrier.
If one focus group can come up with the idea, another would also be able to come up with that idea. So instead of using focus groups to get ideas of ??how?? to solve a need use the focus group to accurately understand ??what?? will satisfy their need. A product or service is a ??how??. The customers don’t really care about ??how?? they just want their needs satisfied.
The specific ??how?? ideas that come from a focus group help you better understand ??what?? they are trying to accomplish and ??what?? will satisfy their needs. Its the innovators job to find the best ??how?? ways to satisfy all their needs related to the task they are trying to perform.
Every ??how?? idea covers less than 1% of the entire intellectual territory. This presentation explains that math. http://www.slideshare.net/MarkProffitt/predictive-innovation-overview
Using that technique you can uncover ALL the ??how?? ways to satisfy the needs for the task. With that information it is possible to then develop a layered approach to securing your intellectual property. One part of that can include patents.
OutCompete developed an approach and software that allows development of airtight patent fences around any valuable IP. this approach is based on thorough consideration of principles of protection of IP (after the patent is granted), as well as on research of patent trolls’ successes and techniques they use. So even if the 1% idea from the focus group leaks out you have built a patent fence covering the other 99%
The first layer was secrecy. The second layer is the patent fence. The next layer is flexibility.
Innovation = Satisfying Customers’ Unmet Desires. To produce the highest consistent value from innovation you must be satisfying unmet desires. When copy cats move in the pricing war begins. Its time to move quickly to the next area. With the complete innovation map you can both quickly and efficiently step to the next high value area. Plus you can do it in such a way that it builds on your strength which makes it harder and harder for others to copy cat you.
“The Mind of the OutCompete Strategist” by Len Kaplan describes strategies that do that. ??Fat Product, Lean Process?? and ??Catch Me If You Can?? are two strategies to build that third layer of security.
The forth layer is business models that benefit from sharing. Open Source projects have found business models that actually benefit from “giving it away”. The key element to these types of models is finding something not directly part of the intellectual property and can’t be easily copied, that is your unique competitive advantage. There are many ways to do this and the Predictive Innovation Method will uncover your unique competitive advantage.
When you are ready to secure the value of intellectual property, I can help you with each layer.
One of the methods Technorati uses to verify you own your blog is for you to post a special link on your blog, like this Technorati Profile. This verifies you have access to make new posts to your blog. This is a pretty good way of confirming identity. It also uses a basic principle of communication. In computer terms we call it ack / nack, or acknowledge.
Ack/Nak works by you sending a message then wait for a return message that contains information based on what you originally sent. This is also how public key encryption works. This approach confirms two things. First it confirms the identity of the sender. Secondly, based on the return information it confirms the message was correctly received and interpreted.
In the world of abundant information identity is highly valuable. Having good ways of confirming identity are essential. Most of the approaches used today, such as a social security number and a collection of secrets is seriously flawed. Of course the secrets can’t be secret because you need to share them with every business in order to confirm your identity. Bruce Schneier The Curse of the Secret Question. A system of using the message sent to answer a question is a much better method.
Of course there are possible weakness to even this approach, such as the man in the middle attack, but those are difficult.
The Ack / Nak method is even better for confirming the message was interpreted as intended. Innovation depends on understanding what customers wants. Effective correct communication is critical to understanding customers desires. One way that people can do this in normal human communication is to ask a question that requires the listener to respond in their own words. This not only shows the person heard the words but interpreted the meaning.
The side benefit of this method of communication is the extra focus on “how”. Focusing on how a need or desire is satisfied provides more accurate and objective ways of measuring success. It also is one the the steps in using the OutCompete method of predictive innovation.
- Think about times when you thought the other person understood but you later found out they didn’t.
- The next time you give someone instructions, ask a question that requires them to use the information to answer. Why questions are good for this.