Whew! We made it! Spring’s around the corner. Everything’s budding in the garden. At some point the crisis will be over. And the economy is on the up. Just like last time. And the time before that – correct me if I’m wrong.
Suddenly, everyone’s forgotten about the resolutions they made – to save money wherever possible, to seek out new products and technologies, and launch them (to reduce our dependence on others).
Now, we could leave it to the psychologists to describe this phenomenon – with profound insights and studies. But that won’t solve anything. So let’s apply a bit of common sense and look at it from a fresh angle. We can learn from the past: watch the markets carefully, be creative, be brave, cash in on our ideas, and translate our knowledge into actions, and we’ll be fine. Because it’s precisely this knowledge that makes us what we are, and sets us apart. But let’s not forget to protect our intellectual property – there’s nothing more annoying than an idea being used to the benefit of the competition.
Small and medium-sized enterprises have a tendency to underestimate how easy it is to protect their know-how – with patents and registered trademarks. While everyone here in Germany is still grappling with the key thrusts of the Bologna Process and bachelor programs, in China, scientists are quickly undergoing training at 750 universities. In 2007, 160,000 Chinese engineers registered worldwide patents, 30,000 more than their German counterparts.
So what happens next? We can’t stop the flow of the tide, but we can use our ingenuity. With creative strategies, exciting developments, new teaching and learning methods, and clever concepts. Does this strike a chord with you? Then allow Steinbeis to provide you with inspiration, and let’s enjoy the advent of spring.
Wolfgang Müller is head of the Steinbeis Transfer Center Infothek in Villingen-Schwenningen. Turn to page 14 to read about the work of the SIGNO network, where experts like Wolfgang Müller have set up a standard for evaluating patents.