Knowledge is mostly distributed across a sector and so individual companies cannot rely entirely on their own research, but must instead take advantage of others’ ideas, inventions and processes by buying or licensing them. To do so, may involve considerable risk and financial outlay. Ways of mitigating such risks and costs must be found that safeguard the intellectual property of inventors, whilst stimulating innovation and benefits for the wider community.

Open innovation is one way of encouraging those with ideas and inventions to see their creations properly exploited and rewarded. It is not about intellectual property per se, but the diffusion of innovations enabled by the former. The thinking behind open innovation is that since knowledge and information can be transferred easily it is difficult to prevent, even if that were the aim. Individuals and companies cannot ignore this phenomenon, so they must understand how to take advantage of it.

The Society will promote a policy of open innovation by providing a collaboration platform for individuals and companies wishing to explore and exploit new knowledge, and so share in the risks and rewards. The policy will manifest in a number of ways; for example, the planned Technology Watch programme is aimed at diffusing information on novel processes, products and services. Other initiatives will be announced in due course.

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