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It might seem impossible, but here’s the truth: actual law that companies usually avoid since they consider it to be a “show-stopper” can bring a new, more daring way of thinking into the company, simultaneously making it calmer; the bigger the company, the better… That makes no sense, right? Of course not: you’re all imagining a lawyer in a suit who can always tell you what cannot be done, waiting to come across a problem he’ll then start solving in a manner that will make your head hurt.

We’ll have to start at the beginning: in a company that wishes to grow, is innovative, and thinks that they’ve perfectly understood all things legal (we don’t need contracts, nothing has ever happened to us yet, what we’re doing surely doesn’t exist elsewhere, etc.). The focus of such a company is obviously directed toward development, marketing, and sales; everything else is irrelevant in this phase, which is the first mistake.

Companies innovate and open themselves up; in addition to all known obstacles on the markets that already require tremendous efforts, however, another important aspect shows up but is unfortunately often overlooked in Slovenia – intellectual property law. And no, I’m not talking about patents and trademarks (these two things are final products of a process taking part in a company); I’m talking about the innovation process itself which must support innovations and, at the same time, properly protect them.

You’re probably wondering – okay, but what does the law have to do with that? If you think about it, it always ends with a paper (a contract) or, failing that, in a courtroom; in any case, you’re dealing with law, but in the first example, law has a positive connotation, while not so much in the second one – and why not choose positivity if you can? The numbers tell us that lack of contracts can take away up to 10% of income, without providing information on indemnities and redevelopment costs, needed because you encroached on the rights of somebody else with the first product you developed.

I call this process dealing with both innovations and the law “butterfly management”. Why?

Vincent Eades said: “If you examine a butterfly according to the laws of aerodynamics, it should not be able to fly. But the butterfly does not know that, so it flies.”

This butterfly has two meanings:

The first one is related to ideas and innovations in and of themselves: the less one knows what is going on around them, the easier it is for them to innovate since they’re not limited and can discover unknown territories, become trendsetters, etc.

The other aspect is related to the part where each of the wings is supporting one important question in terms of commercialisation of an idea: WHY? WHAT? WHERE? HOW?

These questions harbour the entire process of agile innovating, resulting in an innovation which will be free (does not encroach on the rights of somebody else), will be the flagship of your company (and thus bring the most income), will be present in all important territories (the whole world is an utopia – focus is important in this aspect as well), and will be expanded through channels/partners who are the best and the safest choice in terms of protection of your knowledge – and yes, we’re back to knowledge. If you look at it again, you’re creating knowledge the entire time you’re innovating and looking for a place for your new product; this knowledge is your most important value and must be protected at all costs. I think that we all keep our most worthy possessions in a safety deposit box or best-protected, right?

The point of it all is the innovation and a leap forward in growth, but still: commit to a process, not to a goal. You will achieve your goal if you take the right steps and if your process is agile enough: a butterfly just flies and does not complicate.

4 questions? That’s not a lot, right? Next time, we’ll talk about what’s hiding behind each of the questions and how to best implement them into the value system of your company.