This was one of my major achievements during the Covid-19 holidays: publish my book about innovation strategy.
I am carrying this calling around for a long time: to provide a comprehensive model for innovation, and provide materials for those who are looking for orientation in the field of innovation.
My Own Life Story Is Innovation
This is where I am coming from. It was in the year of 1993, I had just obtained a master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering at the Technical University of Munich.
I was back from an R&D assignment in Canada where I had developed a new sensor for robot arms. I had made several inventions by that time and I wanted to find out how to protect them.
It was a cold and rainy evening and I was sitting in the dark, in my old car, in front of the Munich university book shop, reading a thin German book about patenting that I had just bought there. I still have it in my library, and I can still remember hearing the raindrops falling on the roof of my car.
That was the moment when I decided to become a patent attorney.
My Experience With Innovation Over Almost 30 Years
That was almost 30 years ago. Since then, I have personally drafted more than 500 patent applications, supervised in my IP law firm the drafting and filing of about 18,000 patents, 4,000 trademarks, and worked for all sorts of multinational companies like Siemens, General Motors, Infineon, Airbus, Opel, IBM, and Lenovo, just to name a few. My IP law firm has offices in Munich and Singapore, and if there is a big German MNC in either of these two cities, we probably have worked for them.
In the course of these 30 years, being an inventor myself, I have gained much more insight into what makes innovation happening.
My Book Starts Where Other Books About Innovation End
About 5 years ago, on my 50th birthday, I sat down and thought about what I went through in the first half of my life.
And one of the most prominent insights was that I realized why how start-ups and new products fail, and I found out the underlying reasons for these failures. And it is almost never because of a failure in the IP aspects of the business.
When I realized this, it became the starting point for a career change. Anyone else would have left the area of IP. But not for me.
I could no longer merely be a sophisticated patent drafting and enforcement expert; I had to become a judicious innovation strategist.
And this is also why the insights of my book are an autobiography of the first half of my life.
Innovation As A Picture
Innovation is all about making money from your idea.
To me, innovation strategy is like a forest, and innovation tactics are the trees.
If you see only the big picture forest, you miss out on the many details that require attention. This happens if you have a strong vision for your idea, but no clear plan to bring it to market. If you focus only on cultivating one tree, you risk ignoring the rest of the ecosystem. This happens when you prioritize developing your product (R&D) over Marketing, or Intellectual Property (IP) over Freedom-to-Operate (FTO).
And as in any natural system, the laws of time must be followed, and slack is not permitted.
Everything is related. Everything functions within a well-ordered system.
Successful innovators need to know about the overall system and they need to be able to switch their perspectives as needed, and use the right tools at the right time.
That is where my book comes in.
Call to Action
Check out this page of my website and find out more about my book “The 4×4 Innovation Strategy”:
There is a free abridged pdf version available for download, and you can buy this version for a nominal amount of US$ 0.99 on Amazon Kindle.
Members of my website can download the much longer full version (which also comes with an index) for free.
I believe that my book is a must-read for people who work with innovators, for their own sake.
Martin “Strategy” Schweiger