Another distinction between large and small companies when it comes to OI has to do with the rate at which all entities are investing in the SME’s technology of interest. In this context patent velocity is an excellent analogue for investment rate. The “Rate of Investment Heat Map for SMEs Open Innovation Initiatives” figure shows three typical patent velocity patterns that come from plotting patent family counts per year.
Looking first at the overall number of patent families in a field and using an approximation of $1 million invested by a company for each patent family published, the overall number of patent families shows the extent to which a field has attracted enough investment to make finding an OI opportunity likely. Returning now to the “Rate of Investment Heat Map for SMEs Open Innovation Initiatives” figure (showing the pattern by which the overall number of patent families have been created) only the left and right patterns offer OI promise for SME’s because of the time and financial constraints typical of SMEs. Larger organizations have the financial leverage to participate in all investment environments although the center area is by far still the most challenging.
Assuming that an organization has looked for the technology it wants and has found that the environment is in the sweet spot of both of the Heat Map figures, the next step is to begin evaluating and choosing technology solutions.