New Zealand: Best brainstorming ideas in the world found in Hamilton
Last Updated: 5 June 2013

An intellectual property expert from Hamilton will give her view on creating great brainstorming sessions to a global audience of IP experts in Austria.

It's a huge honour for Kate Wilson, partner at leading New Zealand intellectual property1 firm James & Wells, to be chosen from a host of international candidates to address this year's annual conference of ASTP – the Association of European Science and Technology Transfer Professionals - after a paper she wrote on brainstorming came to the attention of the prestigious body.

It is Kate's area of expertise, and the choice of her to address the ASTP audience over international peers, that confirms her pre-eminence in this exciting area of intellectual property development.

Her paper looked at ways a business can capture ideas of real value for brainstorming sessions – "not just a whole lot of people throwing out random ideas, of which few are captured and even fewer are acted upon," she says.

"What I'm talking about is setting up sessions that extract great ideas in a directed way – ideas that will be plugged back into the business for successful commercialisation2."

As an intellectual property strategist, Kate is adept at following the process with brainstorming participants, leading them through ideas that have commercial applications and can have their competitive edge protected. With degrees in physics, she can easily grapple with a roomful of scientific and engineering experts and capture their best ideas.

But the paper that captured the imagination of vice-president of ASTP isn't all about high end conceptualisation. It's also about the more prosaic side of brainstorming, such as what food you serve at successful sessions to stimulate creative thinking and having toys to play with which enhance kinaesthetic learning.

Kate is not only very pleased to be sharing her ideas with the high-level innovators, lawyers and technology entrepreneurs in Vienna in May, she says it is also great acknowledgement of an area that New Zealand has real expertise in – if only it was recognised.

"New Zealand business doesn't have the budget or the other natural advantages of other countries, so we have to be innovative to compete on the global stage".

"We are in the top five countries in the world for filing patent3 applications, but we come in at 25th in the world in taking those innovations to the global marketplace. It's something that we can change, and I would personally love to be at the vanguard of that change, helping bring the best Kiwi ideas to the world."

Kate says she also sees the conference as an opportunity to make useful4 contacts for her clients and bring back new learnings that James & Wells can use to enhance its service offerings.

Immediately after Austria, Kate will visit the Creative Campus of Bayer in Germany, one of her clients.

Waikato Times

Kate was recently interviewed by the Waikato Times. Read the article here - ' Building up businesses beyond the boardroom'.


1Refers to the ownership of an intangible thing - the innovative idea behind a new technology, product, process, design or plant variety, and other intangibles such as trade secrets, goodwill and reputation, and trade marks. Although intangible, the law recognises intellectual property as a form of property which can be sold, licensed, damaged or trespassed upon. Intellectual property encompasses patents, designs, trade marks and copyright.

2Refers to the process of introducing a new product or service to the marketplace (whether in New Zealand or overseas). For the purposes of a patent application commercial working can include taking orders for a product or service (even if in confidence). It is important to understand that commercial working of an invention before a patent application is filed may invalidate that patent application (see validity below).

3A proprietary right in an invention which provides the owner with an exclusive right for up to 20 years to make, sell, use or import the invention. In exchange for this monopoly the patent is published so that others can see how the invention works and build on that knowledge. The patented invention may also be used by the public once the patent lapses.

4The document that accompanies a patent application. It defines the scope of the invention in the claims and provides a detailed description of the nature, use and purpose of the invention. A specification may be provisional or complete and there are different rules applying to each.

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