Sorry Grant Thornton, amorphous fears about IP loss should not trump value creation


Sorry, Grant Thornton, I think your instinct is very likely wrong.

I saw this advertisement (also in French and Flemish) in Brussels-Midi station when I was recently passing through.

Grant Thornton claims to have an ‘instinct for growth’. For some reason it seems to have an instinct (it appears without any evidence) that expanding into new markets will lead to loss of intellectual property. So the instinct is one for inaction, and in turn no growth.

Of course you need to be aware of the possibility and potential consequences of intellectual property loss. That is why IP governance (which is about reason not instinct) looks at risks and opportunities in order to take appropriate action to maximize value.

Loss of IP in moving into new markets usually does not mean no growth, it means revenue is not as high as it could be. IP can be copied by companies in developing countries whether or not you enter those markets. Fear of loss of potential upside results in absolutely no growth, and in fact results in little protection.

In Chapter 8 of Living Networks on Next Generation Content Distribution I wrote about how long-term massive violation of Disney’s IP in China laid the foundation of a very lucrative business there today.

We should definitely not look to the instincts of aging risk-averse professionals in guiding growth. My refrain of ‘governance for transformation‘ is in fact largely about applying reason to instinctive fears, and critically, balancing these against opportunities for growth.

Listen to both instinct and reason in seizing opportunities, not shying away from them.