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« Your people will judge you on what you build, not what you destroy | Main | You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. »

January 27, 2009



ver relevant for current time.

micro CEO

I like this. The wise owl has a point. Learning new skills or "sharpening the sword" (honings existing skills) is the best thing to do in a period of economic lull.

I once worked for a large mobile phone company and we had a big period of uncertainty between projects. With no other work to do, I decided to get together a seminar for the entire R&D team with the corporate legal team to explain about how to submit patent ideas. This meant potential cash reward for employees and potential IP for the company. While normally encouraged throughout the year by the company, most patent idea submissions had been limited to a couple of core R&R teams (electronics design, mechanics design, etc.) and most others felt it was not their arena.

After the seminar I brought together some colleagues and we had weekly brainstorming sessions (which were also a lot of fun) through which we could generate at least a couple of patent ideas for submission each time. I personally submitted 10 ideas. Only one made it through to be accepted and patented (the one I thought least likely to succeed, no less!), but it was a great motivator and a great learning experience for myself, and for at least some colleagues I hoped.

After a couple of months, the project work was back on track (to our collective relief). I eventually left that company. But I've still kept that spirit of idea generation with me. There's more than one way to generate value for company and for self. :-)

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