Open Innovation / NineSigma

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    Does anyone know anything about Open Innovation and NineSigma? A colleague of mine has developed some new technology that provides a solution to one of their open innovation objectives, but I can’t see how the inventor/developer can obtain a consideration without considerable risk, i.e. by not having any non-disclosure or any other agreement with the interested parties.Any thoughts appreciated ..


    Andrew Banks

    Protect your ideas. Open innovation does not mean
    public domain. You collaborate at your own risk. As
    I understand it, the idea is that rather than getting
    the patent for your idea and then sitting back to wait
    for someone to find it & license it (at which time you
    charge them huge fees)you actively seek synergies with
    others to bring a new product to market (where the
    profits are bigger).


    Thanks …



    Your friend should send only non confidential information to NineSigma but he should send enough to show why and how he thinks he can answer the problem. If his proposal is of interest for the Client, NineSigma will connect your friend and the Client. From there, a more formal discussion (under non-disclosure agreement) will take place.
    Best regards,


    Many thanks for your advice Georges.



    NineSigma does not invent or develop technologies for clients nor does it get involved in any IP issues around solutions to the RFPs.  As an open innovation gateway, NineSigma essentially acts as a facilitator or matchmaker between corporate clients who need a particular product/technology/expertise and the global technical marketplace. 
    Fundamental to the NineSigma open innovation process and business model is the insistence that responses to RFPs must be non-confidential and non-enabling. Everyone you should take all reasonable steps to protect their IP. NineSigma does not want the IP or be responsible to safeguard it thereby alleviating any real or perceived conflict of interest since we are paid solely by our corporate clients. This non-confidential and/or non-enabling condition is valuable to all concerned for many different reasons including:
    1) it protects the Solution Provider from any real (deliberate or accidental) or perceived (perceived because clients may also be working on something similar internally, unknowingly to the RFP author) improper adoption of any IP.  This is paramount to NineSigma since without a trusting Solution Provider community, open innovation will fail.2) it protects NineSigma’s integrity3) it protects the integrity of NineSigma’s client4) it eliminates the possible tainting of IP held by NineSigma’s clients.  Believe it or not, clients are really shy about looking at ideas from outside for this very reason and thus use innomediary services as a gateway to ensure that no confidential or enabling disclosures are made.5) It eliminates the need for CDAs and all the follow up work it involves thereby reducing time, costs, necessary oversight etc… in effect streamlining the whole process and eliminating any possible sticky situations.
    The goal of the NineSigma RFP process is to first see if there is enough overlap between the sponsoring clients’ needs and any potential solution from a provider. Potential Solution Providers should only present non-enabling and non-confidential information much like you would do when discussing with peersat conferences or first trying to attract possible partners or investors. The materials presented should nonetheless be compelling and should focus on the “what” is being offered not the “How” it’s done.  This can often be done by sharing performance data, video clips etc. and general capabilities of the offeror while keeping key features about the technology or solution masked or generalized. This does not pose any significant risk.  When technologies are protected by patent, of course more elaborate details can be shared without risk.  In the end, if there is good alignment between NineSigma’s client and the Solution Provider, then CDAs, MTAs and any other safeguards can be put in place directly between the two parties so that more detailed discussions can take place.
    Of course, if one has developed a potentially valuable new technology, that person or group is likely to at least file for a provisional patent. Even a do it yourselfer can file an application for about $100 with the USPTO.


    Thanks for your reply Frank – your comments have been most helpful..



    Is there any reason this could not have been resolved with a communication between your friend and Ninesigma? Why did it become a post in this forum? Feels a lot like an advertisement.



    nine sigma?
    you must be joking


    Well with a name like Ninesigma and their interest in technology, I thought some of the regular posters on this site might know more about them.Although I did contact the website, I’m aware that anyone can set up a website from anywhere in the world, including China, and a well-written, plausible explanation means nothing these days.I know you didn’t ask, but I told my friend not to disclose any means only the deliverables and not to enter any arrangements (contract) with an anonymous company – especially without knowing something about their reputation and the territorial jurisprudence.


    Mike Carnell

    A lot of us either know Andy or have been associated with him on this website for years and everyone knows he wouldn’t do this as an advertisement.


    Thanks Mike …

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