“On 10 April 2018, a crowd of over 100 IP professionals, careers experts and students gathered at the Royal Society of Medicine for the launch of “Careers in Ideas”, a project set up in connection with IP Inclusive that seeks to increase awareness of the many IP-related careers available.
I chaired a panel discussion with experts in the field of careers guidance and IP, and discussed how AA Thornton and other IP firms can pool their talent and resources to spread the word about IP to students in the UK. The aim is to broaden the talent pool and increase diversity within the IP professions.
As part of the launch, the delegates were introduced to the Careers in Ideas-branded careers booklet, poster, PowerPoint presentation and website which have been created, free for all to use, to be taken into schools and universities to introduce students to IP-related careers.
Host and IP Inclusive leader Andrea Brewster explained the need for diversity that underpins Careers and Ideas, which is in connection with IP Inclusive. She also explained how many potentially great people are lost to the world of IP, since they have no awareness of IP and the possible careers available.
Johnny Rich, a consultant in higher education, gave an enlightening presentation about the Careers In Ideas materials, which he produced alongside Duncan Grant of Ashridge Communications.
Johnny explained how they identified specific things about IP careers that could be used to reach a wider audience and interest young people: creativity, ideas, changing the world, and impact and influence. This is how the name, Careers in Ideas, and our tagline (“We all have ideas. Sometimes people pay for them. That’s intellectual property”) were born.
Johnny joined me on the panel, alongside Keith Herrmann (Director of Employability and Careers at University of Surrey), and my colleague at AA Thornton Julie Barrett-Major (Consulting Patent Attorney) who has extensive experience of advising students.
The panel provided great insight, and left the audience in little doubt of the road ahead: If we are going to inspire the next generation to pursue careers in IP, we are going to have to get to them whilst they are young. We learned that when talking to younger students, there is little to be gained in talking exclusively about the careers themselves. The average 12 year old will probably only be aware of the careers of their family, their teachers, and what they see on TV.
Julie explained that the best way to engage with the students is to find out what interests them. IP surrounds us, so it is not hard to find examples the students can relate to. Are they into music? You can talk about copyright. Are they into fashion? There are hundreds of copyright, design and trade mark aspects to discuss. They like their phones? Patents come into play.
Down the line, when the students are thinking about career choices, they will be amenable to a career in IP if their minds are already switched on to what IP is, and the materials will be there to guide them.
AA Thornton has already established links with two secondary schools in Essex, and will make full use of the materials and lessons learned from the event to do their part in raising awareness about IP.”