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Strategy meetings – are they worth having?

IP Draughts stumbled across this old blog posting, from 5 years ago. The memory of what was discussed has long faded, but the article prompts two thoughts: (1) he wonders whether (in normal times) organisations hold meetings with ‘stakeholders’ to give people a sense of participation, without necessarily taking any notice of what they have said; and (2) that, so often, the devil is in the detail, and short, high-level meetings that by their nature can’t get into the detail may be inherently pointless.
Perhaps a silver lining in the current disaster is that, in future, there will be fewer face-to-face meetings of doubtful value.

IP Draughts

strategySelect a dozen or so people who have a common interest but different perspectives on a subject, say intellectual property or legal services. Select people who represent ‘stakeholders’ in the subject. Give them a draft document that you wish to discuss with them. Hold a meeting lasting an hour and a half, at which you canvass their views on the document.

Last week, IP Draughts participated in two such meetings. The first was a meeting of solicitors to discuss the Law Society’s corporate strategy. The second was a meeting of various trade bodies to discuss national IP strategy.

The two meetings were very different in their participants, subject-matter and the way they were run. But in some ways the meetings felt very similar. You may think that some of the following points are obvious, but they only became obvious to IP Draughts after reflecting on how the meetings went, and…

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IP Draughts’ Late Lunch – this Friday 2pm (UK)

The response to the poll on IP Draughts’ last posting has been modest, but several people on Twitter have made positive comments about his idea of an online, social get-together.

So, we will try it out, and see whether the experiment works. This coming Friday, 27th March, at 2 pm (UK time), we will hold a virtual meeting using the Zoom app.

IP Draughts is in two minds as to whether to make it invitation only. He doesn’t want to discourage people who think the faff of registering takes some of the spontaneity from it, or who think this is a malign plot to harvest your data (it really isn’t!). On the other hand, giving out a general invitation on the internet could result in some people from outside the intended communities getting involved. I know, the chances of some random weirdos reading this blog are low.

So, as a compromise, and in the tradition of raves from the 1990s (or so he has read in the Times), IP Draughts will post log-in details on this blog about an hour before the experiment is due to start.

If you were one of the 10 people who declared on the poll that you would actively participate in the meeting, IP Draughts would particularly encourage you to do so for this first outing. If it is a success, we will hold some more.


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News flash: anarcho-socialists disapprove of healthcare patent exclusivity

Seeing the impressive Sir Patrick Vallance (the UK government’s Chief Scientific Adviser) on TV this morning talking about Coronavirus (IP Draughts’ excuse for watching Breakfast TV: he is in a hotel room) reminded him that Sir Patrick featured in a very early article on this blog, from 2011. Sit back and enjoy…!

IP Draughts

We bring you a report (but not an exclusive report) of last night’s proceedings at the Institute of Brand and Innovation Law‘s debate: Do Patents Incentivise or Inhibit Innovation?

The chairman, legal broadcaster Joshua Rozenberg, started by pointing out how distinguished a group of people had been assembled – in the audience.  He was right: High Court judges and Fellows of the Royal Society were ten-a-penny in what was billed as a “scientific and legal panel discussion”.  This blogger can also vouch from personal experience that there were two members present from the Westel Canoe Club, at least one of whom recently achieved his British Canoe Union Strand Touring Award (Silver).

If such a thing were possible, the panel of speakers was even more distinguished than the audience.  As Mr Rozenberg asked each of the five panel members for his views (and yes, they were all men)…

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If you’re so commercial, start a law firm

This blog posting was cited today in a LinkedIn article, so IP Draughts thought he would give it another airing…

IP Draughts

Apparently, commercial law firms want their junior lawyers to demonstrate ‘commercial awareness’. IP Draughts has seen several articles and social media discussions on this subject recently. But commercial awareness can mean many different things, as was discussed in a Guardian article.

It could mean understanding the overall objectives and priorities of a firm’s commercial clients. IP Draughts has always found slightly fatuous the advice given to law students to read the Financial Times to gain these insights. But perhaps his commerciality runs on different lines.

It could mean understanding the people who work for the firm’s clients, what motivates them, and what they want from their lawyers.  This could vary enormously between types of client and job roles within a client organisation, as well as individual personalities. The entrepreneur who starts a high-tech business may have very different expectations and priorities from a professor, IT salesman, finance director or…

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