I gave a two-day workshop on monetizing ideas with a focus on patents from the inventor viewpoint in Finland, Switzerland, and Israel.  The course includes eight hours of lectures and one day of practical exercises. Here is some feedback:

  • One of the best courses I ever attended in my whole life!
  • I really enjoyed the course, especially the last part, when we discussed our ideas.
  • The most valuable were your personal experience notes and stories in general, illustrating particular aspects from different points of view.
  • Provide other seminars as interesting as that one.
  • I really enjoyed the course, especially the last part where we did the practical exercises.

Course syllabus

Inventing and monetizing ideas: an inventor’s insights

Many people have ideas.  Usually they are aware of two options; getting them to market, which takes a huge commitment of time and money, or doing nothing with them.  This workshop teaches how to generate, evaluate, and enhance ideas, and then a number of options as to how to monetize them.

The workshop has two parts – one consists of four lectures (about six hours), and the other involving hands-on practice in teams.  Part I covers:

  • Patents – what you should know.  What is a patent, inventors and owners, the importance of the body and the claims, provisional patents, continuations, and continuations in part.  What does it mean to infringe a patent? Patent examples and common mistakes to be avoided.
  • Patent ethics and aesthetics.  Ethics of patents, pros and cons (and some silly patents) of the patent system.
  • Value from patents.  A variety of options for making money from ideas – how ideas can be sold, as is, when it makes sense to patent them, how patents can be useful to companies and the reverse direction of generating patents specifically to increase the value of companies. Choosing which route to market makes more sense depending on the idea characteristics.  What to do with ideas in academic settings. How patents can contribute to your career and possibly to your bank account.
  • Searching and inventing.  Setting up the exercise part – how to get from problem to solution and why good problems are so valuable.  How to find an area to invent in, how to find when an idea is not new, and how to expand ideas.

Part II of the workshop is dedicated to practical work.  In this part of the workshop, participants work in groups of three or four and go through a process in which they create a patentable idea, develop, search, enhance, and evaluate it.  The main goal of part II is to generate several patentable ideas, and discuss, for each of them, how one would try to get value out of them.

In the process of the exercise, the importance of communicating the ideas and improving them is demonstrated.


1. Inventing

  • Create a patentable idea using brainstorming techniques.
  • Discuss how much value it has, how you would go about making money out of it, and the preferred route to market.

One person will move from the original group to another group for Exercise 2.

2. Enhancing

  • The “immigrant” explains her original (inventing) group’s idea and the new (enhancing) group tries to understand the idea to refine it.
  • Look at the value and route to market, try to improve.
  • Write out the idea and route to market.

Each enhancing group sends the summary to another group—the evaluation group—but does not talk to them.

3. Evaluation

  • Understand the enhancing group’s idea and try to improve it.
  • Look at the value and route to market, try to improve.
  • Decide and explain why you would take it (or not).

4. Summary

  • Each evaluating group explains the idea they evaluated, its value and merits
  • Inventing and enhancing groups comment on any ideas they had the evaluation group did not understand.  Each inventing group explains how they came up with the idea.
  • Instructor’s evaluation of the idea, the process it went through and comments for the three groups involved in the idea.

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