I would love to say that our team came up with the idea of the IP Vault by framing these questions...

What if people could also time-stamp and securely store their IP to prove that they created it first? What if the ID your IP report could be stored in the the IP Vault for free and as proof of an IP inventory or audit? What if IP Vault was free for some .edu users for a limited period of time?

Instead, the IP Vault was something that was suggested when Traklight was a client of the Arizona State University (ASU) Innovation Advancement Program last spring. The ASU team thought we should tap into cloud computing and storage with an technology twist on the old idea of mailing your IP to yourself and keeping it sealed. Which does not necessarily work anymore (more on that in a later blog).

It's a Pivot!

If I had read Eric Reis' book, the Lean Startup, which I had not at the time, I would have known that the ASU team's idea was a pivot. Our initial reaction was that's a cool idea but not what Traklight does. We were designing an online tool to allow people to identify their IP at a fraction of the cost of going to an attorney or consultant. We were focused on building the backbone of the questionnaire at that time.

One team member pushed the idea and we did a quick what if analysis; some market research; and cost analysis. We changed our minds because it was a complimentary product and perhaps an interesting marketing tool.

Three takeaways:

1. Keep an open mind because often an outside perspective can be valuable;
2. Allow flexibility to invite creativity and pivots into start-ups or operations; and
3. Make a decision and implement or move on.

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