Calling All Innovators: Driving Inclusive Team Idea Generation in a Remote Environment

Date: April 30, 2020
Good afternoon, everyone, and welcome to today’s webinar entitled Driving Inclusive Team Idea Generation in a Remote Environment. My name is Ahsan Shaikh and I’m the head of McDermott Will & Emery’s patent prosecution practice. For those of you who don’t know McDermott, we are a global law firm with 22 offices. Our IP practice includes nearly 100 lawyers and professionals, half of whom are registered patent lawyers and agents who offer a unique mix of business savvy and technical skill to achieve success for our clients. We also have one of the largest patent practices in the Am Law 50. I’m honored to be joined today by Michelle Bugbee. Michelle is senior IP counsel at Eastman Chemical Company, a global advanced materials and specialty additives company. Michelle, could you please share with us a little bit about your background and role at Eastman and at IPO?

Sure, thank you, Ahsan. And thank you so much for inviting me and having me here today. As Ahsan said, I am with Eastman Chemical Company. While they’re headquartered in Kingsport, Tennessee, I actually sit in Springfield, Massachusetts, at the home of the Advanced Interlayers Division, which makes polyvinyl butyral, or the PVB that goes into windshields and windows. I’ve been there just 10 years, this month, but actually started there as an engineer when I started my, my other career right out of college. So I came back home to do the patent work, which is, is kind of neat. Prior to that, I have experience with a couple other chemical companies and a little bit of work in the sporting goods industry, working with golf balls and clubs and basketballs and things like that, which was kind of unique and fun. I also serve is one of the co-chairs on the IPO Women in IP committee, and a co-chair of the Women Inventors subcommittee of that women in IP committee, and assisted with the development of the IPO Gender Diversity and Innovation Toolkit, which we’ll talk a little bit more about later on in the presentation. So that’s, you know, that’s my background and I’m really excited to be here. Thank you so much, Ahsan.

Thanks, Michelle. And then, that was how I, how I met Michelle was through the IPO Women in IP committee and Women Inventors subcommittee, and it’s really one of the things I’m most proud of with my practice. Outside of that, in that committee, I help work on the Gender Diversity in Innovation Toolkit, which Michelle will talk about later. But outside of that, my practice is very different than Michelle’s. I focus on software patents and particularly using patent analytics for evidence-based patent prosecution to make the patent prosecution product process go a little bit more quick, quickly and effectively. And that, that’s really the focus of my practice. So we’ll jump to the next slides.

So this is an interesting image that I want to start off with to, kind of, give context of what we’re talking about here. And I want to ask the audience to think about, particularly the IP counsel in the audience, does this ever happen at your patent ideation meetings, which I’ll explain what that is, but I would argue, probably not, and probably not ever. And I want to point out a couple of things about this image. First of all, you have everyone raising their hands, so everyone’s really interested in participating int he idea generation, hypothetical idea generation session. And, and so that’s, that’s one challenge. The other challenge here is a, or other unlikely occurrence here is you have more women than men in the room, which I’ve rarely seen happen. And then thirdly, you have a least one diverse person in the room, which again also rarely happens. And before I get into the content of the slide, I wanted to thank one of our sponsors for giving us the opportunity to present today. I wanted to welcome and extend a warm thank you to the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology as a co-host for today’s program. Established in 1995, the BCLT is a multi-disciplinary research center at the University of California Berkeley School of Law, and I’m a Cal Berkeley undergrad. So I’m, I love Cal. And their mission is to foster the beneficial and ethical advancement of technology by guiding the development of IP law as it interacts with business, science, and technical innovation. Through frequent roundtables and programming, BCLT brings together the best and the brightest in the IP community to discuss the issues we grapple with daily that arise in the wake of new technological developments. And as you can see, as part of their mission, why they would be aligned with the discussion we’re having today. And to address one housekeeping matter now that I’ve kind of set the stage for what we’re going to talk about, for CLE participate credit today, for any jurisdiction you have to be participating via laptop or computer and not by phone. So, hopefully, you’re doing that now. But if you’re not, you should have received a link to your email on how to participate by laptop or computer. Participating by laptop or computer allows us to track your participation, which is necessary for the CLE credit. You must also complete the post program evaluation and include your jurisdiction and bar number. If you’re requesting CLE credit in New York, and my heart goes out to the people who are in New York City with the COVID crisis there. But if you are requesting CLE credit in New York, please listen at the end of our presentation and we will give the secret credit code that is necessary to obtain CLE credit. Be sure to get that code and enter it into your evaluation in order to get your CLE credit. And for the rest of us in not, not in New York, we’ll always be amazed why New York has the secret CLE credit code because I always find that very interesting. To ask any questions, simply type it into the Q&A function in the webinar toolbar. We’ll do our best to answer your questions during the webinar. So with that, we’ll get started with today’s program.

So hopefully, you’ve asked yourself or answered the question, does that ever happen? And if the answer is no, then this is going to be highly relevant presentation to you, for you. So before we get into the content of the presentation, or what I’m going to, we’re going to try to tell you about and convince you about better processes, I’d like to set some definitions first. The first is ideation. It’s also referred to his idea generation, loosely referred to as brainstorming. I’ve heard patent idea collection process, but the term, the focus and the definition of this is the creating, developing, and communicating of ideas. And so this is, the idea generation process, as IP counsel, we’re all pretty familiar with this because it’s starts to the process for the consideration of ideas for patents submission. But ideation also applies to many different industries, and the study I’m going to talk about later comes from another industry. So in addition to IP counsel being interested in ideation, this is applied, this is used at movie companies like Pixar to help them come up with stories for their next movie. It’s used to create products that are sold. It’s used by business councils to solve business problems for their companies, and it’s the first step of a multi-step process. So your first step is you come up with the idea, that’s the big the big blue box here. Then your second step is, you evaluate the idea, you then validate and test it, and then you implement it. And so today we’re going to talk about the generation and collection of ideas and the impact, or lack of impact that can have depending on how you do it. Next slide.
So there three types of idea generation and truth be told, I was not aware of this until a couple of years ago, when a certain in-house counsel told me about these different categories and clued me into this. The, the first type is independent or individual idea generation. This is where a person works alone to generate their own ideas, and they can do it in a shared space, in a room where they’re working alone on an idea, or an individual time and space, so at home or at their cubicle or at their desks. There’s collaborative idea generation. This is what a lot of IP counsel are generally familiar with when you call together a patent harvesting meeting. So where you get a group together to work on ideas in a shared time and shared space, in quotes because we’ll talk about how to do this remotely. And finally, there’s hybrid, hybrid idea generation, which is a really unique approach to doing this, and I have yet to see it be done in-house anywhere. And so that’s why I’m excited to talk about this. It’s where you have individuals first work independently to generate an idea and then work together on the ideas they’ve generated. Next slide.

So this slide, kind of, covers the journey today, but the presentation mainly has three parts. The first part of this presentation is going to discuss why the standard approaches to idea generation and idea harvesting are not working, and I’ll be talking about that. The second part will discuss who’s being left out because of the standard approach and why that’s a problem. And Michelle will discuss that. And we’ll return back to me for the third and final part, which is where I’ll discuss the hybrid idea generation approach, why it’s better, and how to conduct it. Next slide, please.

Okay, so to engage the audience a little bit, there’s a first question we’d like to ask. Do you anticipate that a slowdown in innovation will impact your business significantly in 2020? If you could submit your answer via the questions that popped, the poll that popped up on your screen? Okay, we can see the poll, polling results here, somewhat even. It looks like some, relatively half in half. Yes, slow down and impact or no slow down and impact. We’ll go to the next question. Have your R&D/innovation teams been affected by the global pandemic? And so by affected, this could be you have there been layoffs? Have you had a reduction in your budget? And the results show, kind of, the flip. Yes, there has—more people are saying they have been affected than not. And the last and final question of this, of this portion of the presentation, has the COVID crisis resulted in a decrease in planned patent application filings for your company? I think the answer to this one’s going to be very interesting. Okay, the answer is, overwhelmingly, no. And I have, the answer here I find interesting because as many of you have been tracking the impacts to industries, I think one of the core industries that is going to be least impacted by the COVID crisis is the software industry. The second, and right up there with that is goldmining, which I thought was really interesting. And I know what we have a number of attendees from the software industry here, so I’m wondering if that’s the reason why this number has shown up as it has. So let’s go to the next slide, please.

Okay, so I’m going to briefly discuss the standard team approach, and many of you are probably going to be familiar with this. And then after this we’ll talk about the problems with the approach. Next slide.
So the standard team approach that I’ve seen used in my 15 years of practice and with the senior attorneys where I came in who were practicing and told me about the 15 years before them, or 20 years, is the team audit approach. And this is where you invite individual innovators to, to join a meeting. You send them a calendar invite you are going to do a patent harvesting session. They come into the room, they sit around the table and one person, typically the patent counsel, asks each person what they’re working on, and that if that person has an idea that idea is recorded. And if you’re lucky, someone else may comment on it or improve it. But overwhelmingly, what I’ve seen is an idea shared, other people are interested in it, may say something, but it goes from one person to another. There’s definitely some benefits to this. They’re very simple to run. Everyone has an opportunity to contribute. As I said, some people improve on other ideas, and if you have an engaged audience and it’s an effective way to quickly collect their ideas because maybe they’re not engaged in your invention disclosure form process, and maybe it takes them too long to do that. On the flip side, there are a lot of drawbacks here, and I think sometimes the drawbacks outweigh the benefits. If you have attendees, inventors, engineers, innovators, who show up without advanced preparation. So, if they don’t read the calendar invite and they just show up seeing patent meeting, often times, if you ask them what they’re working on, they’ll say they may not remember or they have to remember during the meeting, which eats into the time of the meeting. And they’ll say I’ll follow up with you or I’ll share my ideas later. They, each idea that is shared is not always commented on. And importantly, this does not require everyone to engage in the process. So often, you’ll often have people in the room who are listening, they’re on their laptops checking their emails, but they’re not engaged in the process, so it ends up being a waste of time for them. And even worse, they may find it so boring or disengaging that they don’t come to further, to later sessions. So you, they’ve disengaged from your invention disclosure process. Now, to some more subtle issues, you may have an implicit bias or exclusion concern here. You may have a situation where someone is afraid to speak because they think someone else who might be their supervisor may not like their idea. Or they may lack confidence in sharing what they have to say. They may have other issues, and you may have people who speak up over others who, again, implicit bias reasons so unintentionally may discourage, by their actions, other people, from speaking. And oftentimes, you’ll have one person who is the loudest person the room because they are very excited to take over the entire conversation. Next slide.

The other, kind of, half of the team approach is the brainstorming approach. This is where you have everyone in the room, but you’re not asking them to share what ideas they’re currently working on or that they have. But instead you ask them to come up with new ideas on the spot. I don’t see this happen very often and there are same, the same, many similar pros and cons here. But the core idea here is people aren’t, don’t have to come prepared, but you pose them a problem. You can ask them, if you worked at, at so and so competitor, what would you do there? That’s an idea they’d have to come up with on the spot. And that’s the brainstorming approach here. One of the challenges here is that it’s difficult to discern the best idea because as a group, if people are coming up with the ideas together, they often are wedded to that idea a little bit more, so that they may not want to later on select, to not select that idea as being a good idea if they have to vote on the best ideas at the end. Next slide, please.

So the, we talked about the group idea generation process. The other half of a typical invention submission process at companies is the invention disclosure form. Typically, that’s an internal patents page where there’s a link to a word document. I’ve outlined all the steps here it takes to submit that in that typical approach, where it’s a word document that you have to open. You have to click on it, download, open up Word, edit, print and sign. If you’re, you have to have wet signature or e-sign, find the person to send it to, attach, send. That, for many of you who, or for many of us who use mobile phones, we know we can’t do that on a mobile phone, and we have to realize a lot of engineers are using their tablets or mobile devices to do this. Or they don’t have access easy access to printers. So as I have this image of a frustrated person there, it’s almost like asking someone to use a typewriter because this is a, a process that doesn’t really work within the workflow of the person who you’re engaging. And as a result of that, you can have some disengagement there. You might have a very long invention disclosure form that you haven’t revised in the last couple of years. So it might ask about government support for an idea that is irrelevant. And longer questions, longer forms tend to disengage people. I know, for me, if I see a webpage form that has three or four screens or a check out process, I will often not want to do that. But it’s one screen I’d be, I’m more inclined to do it. And so, there are similar pros and cons there. Next slide, please.

So all that being said, it’s time to ask us, ask some questions to ourselves, to the audience. Where has this led us? And importantly, are you engaging all of your innovators, if you have a program like this? And, perhaps, just as importantly, or flip side of that same coin, are you identifying all the relevant and valuable intellectual property for your company if your program looks like that? That leads me into a polling question, which is a good lead into what Michelle is importantly going to talk about. I’d like to find out from the audience if your company has implemented any programs to better engage women in your innovator programs? And I want to emphasize this is an anonymous survey. So if there’s any concern about yes or no, your data being pulled here, there isn’t. But it would be interesting to hear this, and I know, for our work at IPO on the Women Inventors subcommittee, we would, this would be some interesting data that we could share. So we’ll leave this one up for a little bit longer this time. Okay. Wow, 36%. I’m really impressed. I was not expecting it to be that high. And that’s a really positive sign. That’s, that’s solid. Awesome. Okay, that ends my portion. I’d like to hand it off to Michelle to talk about the importance of engaging underrepresented audiences.

Thank you, Ahsan. And that is encouraging. 36% higher than I would have thought as well. And hopefully, if we were to do this a year from now, we could get it to least 50%, because that would be moving in the right direction to engage more, more women and other non-diverse, diverse candidates in the invention process. Please go to the next slide, please.

Diversity in innovation is, as many of you know is, is a hot topic right now. Seems like I get a lot of different newsletters, and at least once a week, I find an interesting article that talks about, you know, diversity and innovation and the gender parody issue, and how low the number of women inventors are. This slide is just not meant to be able to necessarily be readable. It’s just capturing some of the different articles that are out there, some of the different reports. Ant the SUCCESS Act, which many of you probably know about, that the USPTO has tried to move the needle in this process and get more women and underrepresented groups, you know, into the inventor mix and starting to capture their inventions. It’s a topic that seems to be in the forefront of everybody’s mind, not just here in the US, but also, you know, around the globe. WIPO is very involved. In fact, it was the WIPO report, along with a report from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research that, kind of, got the Women in IP committee started on this. Those two reports came out in late 2016 and, you know, we looked at those and saw how, how low the numbers really were. I don’t think anybody, you know, everybody knew that women were, were underrepresented in patents, but I don’t think anybody really had a good, solid idea of how, how low or how few women were really patenting until some of these reports came out. So the committee formed the subcommittee, the Women Inventor subcommittee that, that I decided to join and get involved in to try to address these issues. To bring awareness to the issue of gender and other, you know, lack of diversity in the disparity and innovation. And to try to put together something to offer tools to improve the situation. Through the work that we did, the Gender Diversity and Innovation Toolkit came out, which was launched by IPO last September at the, at the annual meeting, and we’ll talk a little bit more about that later in the presentation. If we could go— thank you.

Just to look at some statistics and at look at the numbers. According to different reports that, you know, that we found when we were doing this work. One of them is the idea gap in pink and black framework for research in policy that came out. The number of women in the workforce is pretty much 50%. Pretty close, male and female. Another number I’ve seen is that the number of women getting PhDs is actually slightly higher, at least it was when we started this work. At about 53% compared to men at 47%, but I would call that pretty much equal, 50/50. But even though we have equal numbers of men and women in the workforce, only about 20% of women hold tech jobs. And then within that, only about 11% of tech patents have female inventors. That’s, that’s not great. It’s, it’s when you have 50% of the women in the workforce, and yet only 11% are on patents, that’s, that’s a pretty low, low number. What we’d like to do is try to figure out, you know, why this is, and what can we do to increase that, get more women involved? If we continue with the rate of only 11%, that 2092 represents when gender parity in patenting might be reached. Its slowly climbing from the first studies that were done back 20 years ago, the number was even lower, but it’s not climbing fast enough. And I know that many of us on this call today won’t live to see 2092. I mean, I would like to live, you know, some years longer, but I’m not sure I want to get 2092. But that’s a long time before we would see any kind of gender parity. So we need to all figure well, what can we do to increase the participation of others in this patent process? I saw an article very recently that came out in the World IP review that called those statistics shameful. It’s the word that the WIPO Director Francis Gurry used to describe the lack of women participating in, in, in innovation. This quote here came out in a report from the office of the Chief Economist that the USPTO in their progress and potential report. And, you know, I won’t read the whole thing, but basically, if we could get more people patenting than the current, somewhat non-diverse group that are patenting, you know, including women, minority, you know, children to invent at the same rate, we could quadruple or even more the rate of innovation. That would be great. Because by not doing that, we’re leaving a lot of economic value on the table. A lot of innovation is going unpatented and unrecognized. Somebody might ask, you know, why does this matter? In many technical fields, patents, you know, may be linked to promotion, to salary increases, other, other rates of moving up, you know, in your career. So by not patenting, specifically for women, they’re not getting some of the promotions. They may not be moving up this fast as their male counterparts. This gender disparity can also, you know, correlate to lower salaries for women. The patenting may be a key activity, it’s not necessarily in in every, every job or every company or organization, but in some companies it’s, it’s certainly a metric. It can also be a metric that’s important for venture capital funding. If you’re not having patents, you don’t have anything to, to put out there to get people to fund your, you know, fund your, your inventions and fund your company. So, increasing this number of women on patent applications may help to increase funding for these women’s entrepreneurial activities as well. Further, studies have found, excuse me, that even though women patent less, the quality and the impact of some of their patterns are at least as good, if not better in some cases, than those of men. And this was, you know, this was in a study that was published some years ago. Gender, gender differences in patenting activity. And it was a study done in the biotech industry. If you could go to the next slide, please.

Excuse me. There’s a, there’s a number of causes for this disparity in innovation, and a lot of them lead to the pipeline. And, you know, when we, as a, as a committee, when we’re talking to lots of organizations, sometimes the first answer from everybody was, well, we only have 20% women, you know, our team that could be inventors. And you can’t change that overnight. That has to start, you know, at the kindergarten age at the pres— at the elementary school age, and up through middle school, high school, and college. You have to get women and others involved in these STEM activities. So that’s not something you can change quickly, but you have to start changing it and get involved. But once you have the women there, the numbers continue to decrease in what we call the leaky pipeline. As, as women move up in their career, they’re jumping off, or leaking out of the pipeline because they’re not staying in these STEM or technical roles. Many of them seem to be, you know, in areas that are more traditional for women such as VIO and Pharma type roles. But even in those, the pipeline is, is still leaky. People are getting out or leaving those fields. If you compare the rate of retention of non-STEM fields to STEM fields, the retention rate in the STEM fields decreases very sharply after, you know, only a few years. Five years or so, it starts to drop. After about 10 years, retention rate of women in STEM fields, in a study that I saw, was about 50%. And it goes down to about 30% as you get close to 20 years out in a career of a woman. If you contrast that to non-STEM fields, the retention rate is up at about 90%, 10 years, and only drops down to about 80% as you get out about, about 20 years. So those statistics, you know, we need to look at why are women leaving? Why are they not staying?

And there’s a question, Michelle, that came up that I’d like to throw out there. And I’ll answer from my perspective, and I’d like to hear yours. So, question in the audience, can you clarify what gender parity in patents look, looks like? Is it that 50% of inventors are women, or is it proportionate to the percentage of women in technical jobs? And if I, I’ll take a first shot at that and then hand it over you Michelle. The brief answer is it depends. The SUCCESS Act, which is a report the USPTO generated, looked at, did not look at percentage of women in technical jobs at their companies. It just compared percentage of women on patents in those certain companies. So some companies it would be to match the percentage of women in innovator roles at the companies. Other companies I’ve seen with much more aggressive goals, which is, they want half of their inventors, at least half to be women, even if that’s not what the representative, that’s not what represents their technical role or their innovative roles in those companies. Interested to hear your thoughts as well, Michelle.

And I would agree with you. I hate to give the classic lawyer answer of it depends. And we’ve tried, as a committee, to look at both numbers. And you have to be really careful when looking at these reports because, like the WIPO report, for example, looks at the number of patents that had at least one woman on, on the patents. And that number is higher than the number of the total women. Because there, you know, you may have 3, 4, 5, or 6, inventors and one is a woman, but the total number, or total percentage of women that are patenting is, is still only going to be around 15, 20%. But you might have 35% where there’s at least one woman on it. So you have to be very careful how you report these metrics. Ideally, we’d like to get to where there’s 50%, you know, of, of women in the in the inventor pool or in the technology group, that could be inventors. And then have, you know, many of them or all of them, but the same with, you know, other, whether it’s, you know, men or other diverse individuals, have all of them patenting if they’re in roles where they could patent. But that’s not necessarily practical, but we would like to get it where there’s something closer to parity, where, you know, 50% of the women are in teams where they could be patenting. And, those women are all patenting as, well as all of all of the men, at least, you know, as much as possible. So it’s very hard, you know, to do that. In some cases, you know, I always tell people, and I, and I listened to a webinar the other day that the Chief Economist of the USPTO was on, you have to drill down and look at these numbers. But I would say, look at, you know, if you can identify your inventor pool and figure out if you have 25% women and 75% men, go one step further. What percent of those 25% women are patenting? And what percent of the 75% male? So, you know, just with quick, easy numbers. You get 25 women and 75 men. We have, you know, 13 women that are routinely patenting is 32, sorry, 37 men that are patenting. Well, then they’re both patenting at a rate of about 50% within their groups. The problem is both back to that pipeline. We don’t have as many women in there to start with. But you want to look at, you know, both numbers because I think both are relevant. I hope, I hope that helps to answer the question. But if not, certainly, you know, after this we can try to, try to address it further. Contact me directly, and we can try to, try to answer that.

Looks like there’s another question, too. Is a lack of gender parity due at least in part to few women being in senior engineering positions? Are most female engineers younger? I will try as stab at that first and then Ahsan, if you have any, you know, any thoughts based on your experience. I would say in part, yes, and some of this, you know, I’ll apologize because I’ll try to skip over it later, but some of it is that women are not in roles, particularly as they advance in their career, that may be, or is likely to be where you’re doing, inventing or where you’re in innovation you might be, either in a supervisory role, so you’re not involved in the patent teams. Or you go into roles, maybe, that aren’t as intensive, you know, as far as the workload. I find that in companies I’ve worked in an, an analytical scientist role may be one that’s for women because you come in, you can do your job, you can leave, you’re not involved in maybe the longer hours, things like that. So I think, you know, yes, it’s in part due to that. I don’t know if most female engineers are younger. Certainly from the statistics I saw with the decrease in the STEM fields, women are getting out before men, often times. Ahsan, do you have anything in your experience that maybe, you know, either adds to that or different experience?

Adds to it. I’m sorry, I can add to it, but it doesn’t answer directly. So, to the part of fewer women being in senior engineer positions, I know of a very significant tech company that I’m talking to in helping implement the, the, the tool kit. There’s a situation where a male team lead didn’t buy into the gender engagement, getting more women on, getting a woman on his team more engaged in the patenting program, and ended up being a roadblock to having her attend one of the dedicated ideation sessions. So I’m sure, I think more likely if there’s a woman in the senior role there that it might have made a difference. And secondly, this is tangential, but the, the lack to address parity. There are both long-term and short-term easy ways to boost up your parity numbers that are separate than this.

Great. Thank you. The third, you know, one of the major causes we found as first, you know, causes from the disparity, is lack of engagement. You know, often times, you know, for reasons like Ahsan just mentioned and other reasons, women may not be as engaged in the process of innovating in patenting. They may not be in, you know, in the roles, they may not be included in some of the important teams. You know, a little bit of this we covered, but we need to figure out how can we engage women to get them more involved in this? And, you know, that can start with improving the workplace climate. Making sure that you have this awareness, looking at some of these improved brainstorming techniques that, that Ahsan is going to talk about, as well as some of, of the tools that I’ll talk about a little bit as, as we go on, to help with the engagement and help with the intention of the engagement. If we could go on to the next slide, please.

So, this is a question every, for everybody to think about. And maybe, you know, walk away with and bring back to their respective company organization, university, wherever it is that you’re working. You know, what are you doing? Or what is the company organization doing to train women to participate in this patent ecosystem and to motivate them to share their invention so that they can be named? You know, 36% said they had programs, and maybe if there’s time at the end, we can learn about what some people are actually doing, you know, currently to do that. And if it’s, if they’ve been doing it long enough to see those improvements or if it’s just the start of this process. And, you know, we would love to hear any ideas that you can share, you know, how you’re, how you’re doing it and what you’re seeing, you know, come out of it. Next slide, please.

And this is just the cover page of the, the Gender Diversity in Innovation Toolkit that I mentioned early on. The Toolkit is publicly available. It can be found at the IPO website as shown there, and it can be downloaded. You don’t have to be an IPO member to, you know, to get this downloaded. There are some perks that if you are an IPO member, but anybody can download the toolkit, have access to the, the information that’s in there. It, it is quite long. Don’t let that overwhelm you. A lot of work went into it and it’s got a lot of good information. It does have a table of contents so that you can jump, you know, to the areas maybe that you want to see, if you just want to go look at a particular section, you can get there, figure out where to go if you want to sit and read it. There are also sample surveys. You know, and some present, sample presentations in it that you can use. Toolkit discusses a lot of the common root causes that we found as we did our research here, and some of the things that you can do to help change, you know, change some of the causes. We’ve, we’ve used it, a number of us, you know, on the committee, and it’s being used by other companies. And people are finding that it does save some time because there’s no need to start from scratch. You can use some of these tools and not have to start all over and recreate the wheel. Next slide, please.

This is a slide at the beginning of the toolkit that just, kind of, talks about what we call the 4-part cycle. There’s, there’s four parts that, we broke it up into four parts as to how to look at this. And the first step is just increasing awareness and getting support, you know, in an organization. You need to start the looking at the numbers. If you don’t know whether you have a problem or not, the first thing to do is to figure out what those numbers look like. What are, what is the breakdown of women versus men patenting? And you certainly can apply this to, you know, any other diverse group as well. If you have other types of employee resource groups then you can look at, it’s harder to get the data obviously than just getting gender data, but you can look at, you know, are you seeing a lack of patenting in certain ethnic groups or other non-engineers? You know, if you have different types of scientists, maybe you’re only seeing the innovations come out of one group or one type of person. You know, some way that you can get the numbers in and look at them. And, you know, get a sponsor. Get somebody in the leadership role. You know, you may need somebody in HR, somebody in your technology or R&D, whatever it’s called it your organization to look at these numbers and help you to get, get the traction within the company. Once you’ve done that, you’ve determined, you know, what your numbers are looking like, then you want to look at, what are the root causes? You know, go through and use some of these tools to figure out why is it that, presumably, your numbers are low? If they aren’t, that’s great, but there’s probably still room for improvement. Even if your numbers are better than you know, what we’re seeing in the average. The third step is, you know, once you know what these root causes are, you can look at developing some long term—short-term and some long-term programs to address these issues and try to improve on the numbers, and then launch them. And then, you go back and you, kind of, start again. You, you know, once you’ve made some progress, go back and look, are there any new root causes? Have things changed? You know, run your numbers again, see, because the only way you’re going to know if you’re making any improvement is if you run the numbers in the first place and then you run them again to see whether or not they they’ve gotten better as you’ve gone through this process. Next slide, please.

So some of the root causes, and this is not all of them, but some of the root causes that we found that, you know, kind of are more applicable to, to this presentation and were some of the bigger ones. Ahsan touched on this briefly, as people don’t always know the invention submission process, or they feel that the process maybe biased or intimidating. And certainly, you know, I kind of had to laugh because the process that Ahsan laid out is one that I, you know, see all the time. And, you know, in this day and age, where people are in the office having to print it, wet sign it, scan it, upload it, and all that is becoming unrealistic. And we’re, you know, personally trying to figure out how can we make that better, because we’re having to. In some respects, you know, while this is very challenging for all of us going through this COVID 19, there’s hopefully a lot of good things were going to come out of it and maybe something like improving the invention submission process will be one of them, even if it wasn’t for the reason, you know, that its scaring away people. But that could be one of the reasons that, you know, if, there may be some, some built-in bias that prevents people from filing it out, and sometimes, you know, particularly women or diverse individuals. You need to look at, you know, what, what is the process and there a way to make it better to get more people filling out invention reports? And just having those discussions to find out, you know, why aren’t you filling them out? Another idea or another reason we found that was very common was the, what’s known as a confidence gap or the perfectionistic tendencies. Many women, you know, suffer from lack of, lack of confidence or want to be perfect. That should be addressed a little bit more as we go on, and they may not submit the invention report because it’s not quite perfect. So they hold on. The third cause we found is, oftentimes women don’t self-identify as inventors. And as I mentioned earlier, sometimes they’re not on the technical programs or in roles that are likely to be, to result in patent filing. So if we could move on to the next slide, please?

I won’t spend a lot of time here, but these are just some of the ideas. And, you know, thinks to think about with, with your, your invention submission process, whatever that might be, that maybe you can improve. You know is it, is it clear? Is it communicated? If you have somebody that’s been there for six months, would they know how to submit a new invention form? And if they don’t, maybe it’s time to think about, you know, how can you make that better? One of the things that we found is we, as we were going through the work in the toolkit, talking to organizations, is if you don’t have females or diverse employees on the review committee, sometimes there’s that implicit bias to not select those invention reports to move them forward. You know, somebody, at least in companies I’ve worked with, inventions reports get submitted and somebody does a review and determines, is this ready to go forward? You know, should we look at a draft of patent application and go forward? And if you’ve got a review committee that’s made up of all, you know, all of the same type of people, whether that’s white males, all women, all one group, there may be some implicit bias to select those inventors that maybe are like them, or the more prolific inventors, assuming those are better inventions, whatever they may be. So look at the makeup of your review committee and, and see whether you can improve on that or add some diversity to it.

If I could use this as a moment, I want to emphasize what Michelle is saying and say that each of these points here, if you implement any of them, they pay dividends. So, if you’re looking at this and think, wow, there’s a lot that we could do. Really, if you implement one or two of these that should be relatively easy to implement, you will find sig—I’m confident you’ll find significant impact to your filing numbers to engage whatever audience you’re targeting, particularly women. And this, probably, it goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyways. We at IPO and particularly Michelle and I since we’re online, we’re happy to help advise how to implement any of the, of these ideas. And that’s part of the toolkit is that we’re here is resources for implementing these. I want to emphasize the importance of these points here.

No great, great points. And yes, we are, you know, happy to help. And there are others as well that that certainly can help and answer questions. You know, another point on there is, I think it was one of the last ones, is celebrate these filings of invention reports. You know, have some sort of recognition when people file, as well as when people patent. Get then, you know, get the word out there and, and get people to want to do it because, you know, they’re proud of their, their achievements and others know about them. Sorry about that. Now you can go to the next slide, please. Sorry.

The, the confidence gap that I mentioned, there’s a, there’s a book that’s out there called The Confidence Code, and the author stated in that that there’s a particular crisis for women, a vast confidence gap that separates the sexes. And the woman feel, only feel confident when they’re perfect or practically perfect. So this this confidence gap can result in women, you know, as I said, not submitting their ideas for consideration because they may not feel they’re good enough. And I, I have experienced this. In fact, I’m, you know, working on an application right now that the, I hate to call somebody a lead-inventor, but the primary inventor, the woman is doing most of the work on, on this particular one. It’s her, you know, it’s her project. And it was like pulling teeth to get her to submit it because she just didn’t think it was quite ready. It wasn’t, wasn’t perfect. She didn’t have every T crossed and every I dotted. And, you know, I really had to work with her to, you know, to get her to submit it and explain that you know, there’s, there’s a mechanism you can add more information later. We allow, you know, through revised invention submission or whatever it takes. But this is an important concept to the business, and we want to move forward with it. And therefore you need to submit your idea so we can start the process and start talking about it and doing some searches and things like that. But because of this confidence gap, sometimes, you know, you’re leaving inventions on the table because women and others that may suffer from this aren’t submitting their ideas. They may be writing them up and they may be working on them, they may be refining them, they keep going back to them, but they just don’t submit them because they don’t think they’re right. Whereas, you know, oftentimes, others will be more confident, feel like I’ve got a great idea and I’m going to submit this because I wanted to get recognized. I want somebody to start working on it and I want to get my patent application going. So by talking to, you know, to employees, you know, having these conversations and training and doing things like inclusion training and discussing with employees. And it shouldn’t just be, you know, women employees or diverse employees, it should be with everybody because not everyone, particularly early on, knows the importance of patenting and knows what it takes to be a patent. To get, to be an inventor on a patent application. It’s important to have those with everybody, but certainly, you know, to reinforce some of these things. That get people that may be reluctant or feel like that it’s just not ready to, you know, to bring. And I, I encourage people to just come to me and talk about it. Even if you don’t have an invention submission, bring your idea, let’s talk about it, let’s see what you have, let’s figure out the best way to write it up. And then follow up with them. Make sure they’re actually… You know, another piece of this that results with a confidence gap is sometimes women, you know, might be involved, but they don’t point out their involvement. So you want to be aware of that as, you know, as the patent attorney or somebody working with these women to, you know, just be aware of who’s on the team and who’s, who’s participating so that you can try to make sure that nobody is being missed as, as you go along. There’s, there’s lots of tools in the toolkit, you know, mentoring and coaching. As it says on here the, the affinity groups that you can have meetings, and from people we’ve talked to that have done this, going out talking to different groups. And just making people aware that, you know, that you’re there, who the attorney is and that you’re to talk to them. Sometimes in talking to people, we found that if you don’t have a diverse attorney, your diverse inventors don’t feel it’s comfortable coming in and talking to, you know, the male attorney. They just, they either feel put off or they just aren’t as confident. So, you know, to the extent that you have somebody else on the team that maybe could talk to them, get them motivated, get them aware of the process, that could be helpful as well. And just see, you know, training and inclusion is something that will do it. This is, sorry, and onto the technical programs.

I think we kind of hit on figuring out, how do you get women onto the programs? You know, if you’ve got high priority programs, high dollar programs look at, you know, in your organization, are they always being staffed by the same people? You know, sometimes you have to, because of the particular knowledge area you need. But, you know, are there opportunities to put other people on these programs that they could also lead to inventions? These brainstorming innovation sessions with I think is a perfect lead-in to the later discussion that that Ahsan is going to have, you know, figure out ways that you can get involved with everybody. And then you look at other ways that you can, you know, whether its job sharing, sabbaticals, things that you can give an opportunity to different people, whoever they are, to get onto these programs.

And I want to make a note for the questions we have coming in. We are going to save some time at the end. We’re trying to save the last 15minutes for Q&A because we’re going to go 15 past the hour. And so, we have just a little bit of time before that complete the presentation.

You can move to the next slide. And so, this is really the end of my piece. I think it leads in nicely, like I said, to the brainstorming piece. For those that do look at the toolkit, we welcome any ideas. Happy to answer questions for specific comments we did, if you’re willing to share your data. We keep the information confidential. We only look at aggregate data and when we talk about it all in the toolkit, we never disclose. You know, that this company told us this, they have horrible statistics or anything like that. So, and you’re not required to share any of your information, but certainly can ask any questions. I think, yeah, that’s it.

So what can you do to help? Part of it will be, you know, take a look at this. Think about ways that you can improve it and certainly use some of these techniques that often… going on and talk about in the next, next bit. Thank you so much.

Okay, so we’ve done two things so far. We’ve talked about why the standard approach has some drawbacks that are significant. And secondly, based on those drawbacks, what, how we’re not engaging certain audiences, particularly women. And there’s other data about ethnic, racial and ethnic minority diverse—racial and ethnic minorities who are not engaged as well, but that’s a separate topic. So now we’re going third, and this is the big challenge that I feel like I have for the group, why the hybrid idea generation approach is better and how to conduct it. So, next slide.

So there’s a really famous study on this, and you’re welcome to ping me afterwards, email me for a copy of this, but you can Google this as well. It’s called, it’s by Karen Girotra. It’s called Idea Generation and the Quality of the Best Idea. This is the most relevant quote there. It shows that for hybrid idea generation sessions, that in the hybrid structures the ideas, the best idea generated in them is better than the best idea generated by a team. There are three times as many ideas, and they have higher average quality. There’s a lot there. That’s just a quote, but I’m going to give some time to that to sink in, and I’ll talk about it in a few different ways. Next slide, please.

So, more ideas. Three times more ideas per unit of time versus the collaborative approach, which is the team approach. And the study goes into discuss how this is normalized, how they controlled for this, how they came up with these results. The way the judged it, they had dispassionate judges and, and so on in how they tested it. But these were just the results. Better ideas. The best hybrid ideas are better than the best team ideas, and they are of higher average quality by 30%. And, importantly, quality discernment is better. So in the hybrid structure, the people involved are better able to identify which ideas are better than a situation where all ideas are come up with as a team. Next slide.

So what is some of the reasoning behind this? And some of you may have seen this in your processes. If you, more ideas. If you have a bunch of people in the room and one person is talking, other people can freeride on them and say, oh, that sounds like a good idea. I have a similar idea, or new idea, such and such. There’s less evaluation apprehension. That’s where people are afraid of sharing their ideas because they feel they’re going to get judged, which is a very real concern, and sometimes you can feel it in the room. The third one is less production blocking. Simple math problem. If you have, let’s say, 10 people in the room and 60 minutes, there’s only a certain number of minutes each person can talk, and if everyone has ideas and someone goes over, not everyone can share. Why are the ideas better in the hybrid approach? They, well, statistically they have higher average quality, and the study goes into that. There’s more individuality. By forcing people to work individually first, they generate ideas that are completely independent of the other person, so there’s none of that freeriding effect. And fewer conformity effects. If you’re having people generate ideas independently first, they’re not conforming their ideas by looking at someone else’s idea that solves a certain way, and then that idea biases them to solve the problem in the same way. And then quality discernment. If you’re forced people to engage, and this can be a little bit uncomfortable for them at the beginning, but if you force people to come up with an idea, it kind of turns their brain on, gets them thinking, gets their creative juices flowing, so that once they are asked to judge about the ideas that are there, their creative juices are flowing so they’re better able to assess the ideas that are generated. And secondly, many of those ideas were not generated by them. And so they’re able to judge them with less, less bias towards them. Next slide, please.

Okay, so there’s there many different ways to do the hybrid approach. I’m going to describe two to you, including my favorite. This first approach is the way that Girotra study did it. For the first 10 minutes, the individuals were presented with a problem, and they recorded answers to the problem. So the first 10 minutes they see the problem, they’re giving their independent answers to it. Next five minutes, they rank their own ideas. So they pick the top and number of ideas. The next 20 minutes, the group is divided into random groups of four where they share their top ideas together, and they either improve on them or record new ideas based on the ideas they’ve shared together. And then finally, the last five minutes, the group up votes their top or their best ideas. This would be a way that Girotra studied it and came up with the results that you saw previously. And on the right, I have an example challenge format that you can use if you want to adopt that approach. Next slide, please.

So the slide, this is the approach I recommend for patent ideation meetings. And you can do this both in person and remotely. So I’ll talk about the remote approach here, and this works in person as well. So this is called the 6-3-5 method. It’s called 6-3-5 because you take six, six people, you give them five minutes to write down three ideas to a problem that you’re presenting them with. And so this is how it works. For the first—and I recommend dividing it into two sessions. The first session, the first 15 minutes you present the group with a problem, and ideally, you have a sponsor there, like your CTO or program or your team lead to describe what the problem is. So, I, the client that I did this with last week, where we asked the CTO and some idea leaders to identify based on the company’s product map, what were some target goals are initiative for the company that year? And so, this gentleman, this team identified four different initiatives related to products. We structured that into a prompt. And then at the beginning of our ideation section, for the first 15 minutes, I had the group vote on which idea they wanted to solve. And it’s important that the people, first of all, they have to attend. So you can have anywhere from 4-7 people, but they have to show up because that’s how, it’s like musical chairs. You have a certain number of chairs that are set up and you have to do it in a certain way. The fist 15 minutes the, the problem was described. They voted on the one they wanted to solve, so they had 15 minutes to think about what they were going to solve. And then for the next six rounds of five minutes each, they wrote down three solutions to that problem each round. Sometimes they had none, sometimes if they had more than three, they would save the ideas for the next round. And in each round, so the first round they write down three ideas without seeing anyone else. The next round you go, if you do this in person, you either switch seats or you hand pages over. So if you have a grid of, and I’ll show this on the next slide, you have a grid. You can see the previous three persons ideas. You can comment on them after you read them or let those influence you to come up with three new ideas. Do this for six rounds, so you come up with, six people, you come up with 108 ideas if you have three ideas per round. And in our case, I think we came up with, I think, nearly 70 ideas. Whereas for this patent program before, over the past year, we had come up with 15 submissions. And so it was incredibly productive. You then take a break, where you as the in-house counsel or the outside counsel, you then look at all of the ideas. You bucketize similar ideas together, and you choose the best ideas that you want to discuss as a team. And then you, either you can send the people away and then have a next follow up session for 45 minutes. Or if you’re able to do it quickly, you take a 30-minute gap to do that. And for the remaining 45 minutes, you spend the first 40 minutes of that where, as a group, you put up the top, the best ideas on a whiteboard or a Google sheet, or however you want to cast it. And then people ideate on those ideas together. And in the last five minutes you select the best idea. And, yeah, so I’ve touched on the tips for that. Next slide, please.

So, importantly, you can do this by a remote meeting. So last week I did this on Zoom and using Google sheets, and I’ll talk a little bit of time here inside a question in advance that wanted me to detail this out. So what, the way we approach this was we generated, we created a Google sheet. You have one admin sheet. It’s the smaller white box here that says selected topic, the one in the center. That sheet identifies of your six inventors, what sheet they’re currently on, the current round number, and the end time. And then the bigger image in the back is what each sheet looks like. So you have six rounds, the idea, I include a section for is it detectable and what is the public release date. And then, finally, the point of contact. And on the left side of that, the current round kind of auto populates from the admin sheet and it shows you what time each round ends. It’s taken from the center sheet. Pretty straightforward Google Sheets stuff here. The sheet has to be accessible by all attendees. So they all open up the sheet on their computer, and then I’m, outside counsel or in-house counsel runs this, kind of by video in Zoom, not sharing any desktop during most of this. And if anyone forgets what sheet they’re on, they all have access to the admin sheet in Google Sheets so they could see, oh, I’m on sheet B. So now I’m going to that sheet. But you, as the admin, can walk the person through that process. And so this can be done fully remotely. I would, I strongly believe this is way more effective than the traditional team approach. It engages people. Implicit bias issues. You don’t have to write the name of the person there. You can do this in person with like six, six different colored post-it notes where people just write an idea on a post-it note, keep writing it down, round ends, they go to the next place. They have their own color post-it notes. So you know who, who is writing down which idea because you, as the admin, know the color. And that way, if someone else’s name is not on it, then they’re likely not going to know whose idea was that they’re improving on or commenting on. And in the group round, they definitely don’t know whose idea it is, so that implicit bias is removed. So if someone has an implicit bias against someone who’s older, younger or a woman or a man, they won’t know who the inventor is, they’re just commenting on the idea itself. Again, you force people to engage in the beginning, you get many ideas that way. You up vote the best ideas as a group, you have the best ideas there without any names attached that you, as the admin, know. They comment on the best idea, and then at the end, you have both hybridized improved ideas, as well as all the individual ideas to go through. Next slide.

So, we talked about team ideation and hybrid ideation. The last one we didn’t talk about his individual idea generation. Next slide please.

That, there are some benefits. This is just the solo invention process where someone can just use their invention disclosure form. There are benefits to this. So the studies showed that if an organization has issues with conflicting schedules or travel constraints, then individual idea generation might be better because statistically, the ideas that build on other ideas are not better, statistically, than any of random idea selected from the hybridized group idea, individual or team approach. So, individual ideas, in and of themselves, are very valuable. And so a few, there’s, that’s just to emphasize there is a place for the individual idea generation process. And that’s where you want to look at your invention disclosure form process? Is it streamlined? Is it in a, like an online form, like a Google form that someone can submit on their device? Because, like many of you, I’m sure we all do things on our mobile phones a lot of the time. We don’t open up a Word document all the time to do it, so that’s something to consider as well. Next slide.

That, that would work very well in global organizations where you have time zone issues. You know, oftentimes to kind of find a meeting to bring together people of different locations can be challenging because of the 12, 13, 14-hour time differences, you know, in different world areas.

Absolutely. So the last, this one’s going the be last slide before we get to the Q&A and the CLE close up. Next slide, please.

So there are benefits to each of these approaches. You’re going to get a copy of the slide deck afterwards but depending on what your target is for your group, if you think your attendees think better in silence, go with the individual approach. If your attendees don’t prepare in advance, consider the team approach. If you have implicit bias concerns, consider the hybrid approach. Select your approach based on your challenge. Don’t think that there’s a one size fits, that the team approach is going to solve all your problems, because it doesn’t. Really be more engaged in how you’re deciding to innovate, how you get your team members to innovate. And I know I kind of sped up at the end. I want to leave time for Q&A and the CLE discussion. So we’ll, and so, if you could go to the next slide.

Okay, so we’re going to start the Q&A now. But first of all, I want to thank you all for attending. For those of you requesting CLE credit in the state of New York, the credit code, the secret code for a webinar is APPLE30. A P P L E 30. One word. Please be sure to enter the CLE code when completing your evaluation. Without this code, you will not be able to receive CLE in New York. For all attendees requesting CLE credit, a certificate will be emailed to you directly within the next couple of days. We will now answer some questions that have been coming in during the presentation. And please remember, to ask a question, simply type it into the question box to the right of the slide and click submit. Please keep in mind that we will do our best to follow up on those questions that we may not be able to answer during today’s webcast once the program is complete. And I assure you, if you have questions and we don’t answer them today, I will definitely follow up with you, or Michelle will, and we’ll answer them for you. So let’s go to the questions. Pulling up the appropriate one.
Okay, there’s a question, have you used Google Jamboard for one of these sessions? If so, any feedback on its usefulness? Have you used Google Jamboard, same question. I have not. I’m familiar with Google Jamboard. I, the when I, so Google Jamboard is like a shared white, it’s like a shared whiteboard that’s digital. I think it’s a great idea. I haven’t had access to one. I think it would be a really good way to do this. There’s an approach called C sketching, which is you take a big whiteboard, you divide it into four sections, and you flatten it out. And you, each person solves a problem in one of their sections of four people. The end of their time, they go to the next section, they see what the person drew, and they comment on it. They can cut it, they can’t delete the whole thing, but they can improve on it. It’s like a shared whiteboard space. But that would definitely work here, as long as everyone can reach each of the sections. The in-person approach I’ve done that I think is effective is giving people their own set of colored sticky notes. So one person has red, one person orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. Sorry, my five-year-old is memorizing a rainbow, so those are the ones that come to me. You give them their own, their own color sets and then they write ideas on their sticky notes. And then at the end of the round, they go to the next seat, like musical chairs. They look at the sticky notes already there of a different color, and then they add onto those. And at the end of the round, you have a bunch of sticky notes, you can bucketize them together because they are sticky notes. And, that’s the approach that I’ve seen.

So, another question that I saw, that I received ahead of time is, let’s see, are there more efficient ways to create the inventions that you are then patenting? Conventional methods don’t seem to fit the information explosion and the conversion of technologies between widely different fields. I feel like this, and I, I should pace that one in, but I feel like this, this session today addresses that, in that the information technology explosion has not resulted in a change to the ideation flow process for inventing. And it’s up to us. And I think a time like this, we’re all working from home, to force ourselves to reconsider if there are better ways to do patent ideation than the standard approach.

And then there’s one more question. I’m just going to paste it in for Michelle to see as well, because it was messaged to me. The question is, and I’ll give Michelle a chance if she has any thoughts on it. Let’s see. Are any, are you looking at more efficient ways, let’s see, I’m sorry. That’s, that’s the same. Sorry, that was the same question. There’s a new question coming in. I’ll throw this one for Michelle. Many technical organizations have their own diversity and inclusion programs. Have you thought about connecting with them to seek out synergies with what they’re doing?

That’s a, that’s a great question. And, I’d say yes, personally, and also for many of the companies that we’ve talked about, working with any of the diversity inclusion programs. Where I am at Eastman, we refer to the employee resource groups, or ERGs, trying to get, you know, involved with them. Whether it’s, you know, a women and engineering, a Latino technical group, a Hispanic American Group, you know, African American, whatever that is that you might have. And any general diversity and inclusion group that you might have, if you can get, you know, invited to the meeting or invite yourself to the meeting, you know, assuming these are technical groups or relevant to, you know, inventors. Get in, make a presentation, let people know that you’re out there. I think in some organizations I’m finding, you know, even in my own organizations, people just really aren’t aware of the process and what they need to do. And by going into these and highlighting, what the patent attorneys are doing and what the opportunities are, you know, putting together opportunities to do this ideation can be very helpful. So, definitely, you know, I’m seeing that it, it works and trying to get involved, and I know that many of the companies we’ve talked to are using their own, you know, whatever they call them, but diversity and inclusion or affinity type groups to get out there and get involved.

So we have one more question, and then we’re going to wrap it up. The final question is, what’s the optimal way to introduce gender inclusivity and inclusivity discussions into a company that doesn’t have these issues on its radar? My short, I’ll give my short answer and give it to Michelle. But the beginning of the women in Inventorship Toolkit and IPO, which again, reach out any of us, we’ll send the link to you. The beginning of that has some set statistics and some readily available slides that you could use to create, to use to present to your organization. And the intent of the toolkit is to give you that elevator speech that you could go to your executives or your senior sponsors to get support on for this.

And that’s, you know, you kind of stole my thunder there with that elevator speech. But that’s exactly true. I think even the slide, you know, that I presented on the numbers, if you were to ask any of, you know, people in your, your HR technology, your chief technology officer, I bet many of them would have no idea what the numbers really look like or have any idea what the numbers are. Present some of those numbers. The, you know, the fact that 50% of the workforce in general is women. You know, what’s the statistics in our company as far as women in the tech field versus men? And then look at, you know, what’s the role of patenting? And make people, the first step is really making people aware that there is a problem. Because if you don’t know that that’s true, then you’re not going to get anywhere. And we found that women as well as men were just as surprised at how bad the numbers were as we started this. You know, even within our own companies. So the first way, I think, is just to, you know, to the extent that you can get any numbers, or you and your team can get numbers, you know, look at those. But then meet with, you know, chief technology officers, HR, talk to them and figure out, you know, how can we get the stats and you even aware that this is a problem? Because if you don’t get that buy-in initially, it’s going to be hard to move it along. And you don’t have to, I’m sorry. Go ahead.

No, no, no, go ahead yourself.

I was just going to say, you don’t have to sell it as a, you know, as a diversity or gender inclusivity discussion necessarily. It’s just the, you know, look, we’re, you know, we’ve got these people and we’re leaving things on the table. And if you if you count it in the in the economic value that we’re leaving out there, maybe that will help you if it’s a problem, if there’s a reason why you may not want to introduce it as a gender inclusivity discussion. Because it does, it does bring a lot of value. The better that you can get diversity in your teams, there’s all kinds of studies that, I think we have some in the toolkit, but I know I’ve seen, you can find, the more diversity you have, the more inclusivity you have, the better the inventions and the better the bottom line. There’s, there’s lots of studies out there, so use that if you have to…. Go ahead, Ahsan, I’m sorry.

And I wanted to say, in my individual experience and the whole scale of issues that you have to deal with, with executives, this is on the easier side of things. In terms of, like, people wanting to say yes to this issue, as long as you can present it in a way that’s actionable, as long as you can show internally that you have the data to show improvement. That’s, that’s some of the pushback that I’ve seen. And I want to say that Michelle and I are both very passionate about his issue. So please do not hesitate to reach out to either of us about with questions on how to implement this, about hybrid idea generation. We are really motivated to try to make a change in this, so, please, please do take us upon that. And with that, I’m going to close it out. Michelle, I wanted to thank you for sharing your thoughts and insights with us today. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to, again, to either of us if you have questions. As a reminder, please complete your program evaluation. We welcome and encourage your thoughts and feedback on our webcast today and your ideas about future webcasts. I do read the CLE reviews, so please do share feedback. If you are seeking CLE credit, you must complete and return the evaluation. And for those of you seeking CLE Credit in New York, please be sure to enter the code APPLE30. All one word, all caps, in case it’s case sensitive. APPLE, APPLE 30 credit code in your evaluation. Without the code, which is APPLE30, you will not be able to receive CLE credit in the state of New York. For attendees requesting this credit for CLE credit, a certificate will be emailed out to you soon. This concludes our webinar. The presentation and materials from the program will be sent to you via email and our website is mwe.com. Thank you for joining us.

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