Intellectual Asset Management for Sustainable Research

Onunga J. F Omiti


Value addition at reasonable cost leads to competitiveness in any market and is achieved through use of proprietary information in the form of improved technology or effective exploitation of Intellectual Property (IP) assets. The inability of enterprises in Kenya to compete effectively in the market could be a consequence of the underdeveloped internal knowledge management capabilities and this challenge may be overcome if specific IP asset management needs are addressed. The relationship between value chain, competitiveness and market access in a globalized economy manifests itself in aspects which players must master to survive; namely:-

  1. With the growing division of labour and the global dispersion of the production of components, systemic competitiveness has become increasingly important for market participation.
  2. Efficiency in production is a necessary condition for successfully penetrating local or global markets.
  3. Entry into global markets which allows for sustained income growth – that is, making the best of globalization - requires an understanding of dynamic factors within the whole value chain IP asset management-as a key component within any value chain-has become the pillar of business in knowledge economies. Investment in IP requires businesses to find ways to manage their knowledge appropriately to avoid the erosion of their competitive edge.

Systematic transfer of knowledge from research to enterprises has been a major challenge in Kenya. Research is often not based on industry demand; and, enterprises often do not have strategies to commercialize new products and do not know where to get advice on how to manage their IP. Cultural attitudes relating to the African social ideals, beliefs and inherited business practices are also a challenge to IP asset management. For a number of entrepreneurs, peer recognition seems to suffice, whenever they innovate and develop IP that could provide a market advantage as information is often shared freely to achieve "Bragging Rights" by the innovator. Further some entrepreneurs believe that the government owes them more than could be realistic-in terms of infrastructure and support services.
This paper tries to analyze IP asset management, value chain and market competitiveness with respect to sustainability of demand driven research.


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