May I have your advice please? I would like to explore issues surrounding Intellectual Property and Usability Testing.
I am currently providing User Experience Research and Design services for a start-up in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Time after time, we revisit the notion of Intellectual Property (IP) and Usability Testing. For example, does IP exist before Usability Testing or not? If so, who owns the IP? The dynamic is very interesting because it includes executive stakeholders from university, industry, and government, all coming together to wage wins over the venture and "ideally" hammer out a solid business plan. Design by United Nations? Good times!
Anyway, here are some issues I would like to work through:
1. An executive of Technology Transfer at the University asserts that there needs to be IP from usability testing in the form of "know-how", that can be licensed "before" usability services are administered. In fact, the executive is so very convinced that the venture will fail without any ad hoc, licensed IP. Part of the reasoning is that a lack of IP will result in a failure to attract sufficient start-up capital and credibility. Naturally, the executive is attempting to protect the interests of both the university and university researchers. What are your thoughts?
2. In the flavour of Monty Python's Quest for the Holy Grail: Executives from industry fart in the general direction of the Technology Transfer Executive. They see no clear definition of IP from usability testing that can be licensed "before" usability testing services are administered. So, whilst vacationing atop ivory towers, executives catapult cows and chickens at each other. Time passes ever so slowly between cycles of engagement, perhaps because cows are becomming scarce in Canada now that the borders are open again. Oh, the drama! Much to my surprise though, I do not hear the sound of coconuts banging together into the sunset. Indeed, a spark remains to bridge the gaps between university, industry, and government. Yet still, the Executives pass the buck and loiter above the trenches, waiting for a Champion to save the day. Who will that Champion be? Will the drama continue? You might ask, "What fruit will the swallow bear?" Well, that depends on what kind of swallow w
e're taking about now, doesn't it? If we're talking about a European Swallow ... Pardon me. I just sacked those that were responsible for sacking me.
Side B - Do Japanese subtitles to Monty Python make sense?
3. Running along now: A few researchers from the University of silly walks, also believe that no IP exists before usability testing. So...
Great, a majority exists but at the end of the day, the Technology Transfer Executive needs a hard-nosed win for the University with respect to the licensing of IP around usability testing. One of the goals of this venture is to tune a community of innovators with great user experience research and design. I believe that in order to meet this end, all parties need to come down from the clouds, ante-up, and truly "interact" with each other from ground zero. That which will arise from the synergy will be above and beyond what can be accomplished alone. OK! Much easier said than done.
So, please let me know: How would you create synergy and make forward progress in these trenches? A moment please, while I put in my mouth guard.