Joel West, Ph.D.

Consulting on
IP Business Models

The Problem

In the 21st century, old business models are failing and others are being created. Long-established business models like those of record labels and drug companies are failing while new models (such as those based on fremium or social networking) are being created. One area of increasing importance is the role of intellectual property — patents, copyright and trademark — in creating uniqueness and sustained profitability.

To be successful, the business model for any IT firm needs to address three crucial and interdependent issues:

  • creating value for an identifiable group of customers;
  • capturing value to generate profits in the face of competitors and potential new entrants; and
  • orchestrating a value network of suppliers, complementors, customers and (in many cases) competitors.

The problem is that openness is great for creating value and building a value network, but bad for capturing value. Conversely, too much emphasis on capturing value (extracting rents) makes it hard to attract customers and other participants in the value network.

The Solution

Through a combination of academic and industry experience, Joel applies both cutting-edge research and real-world practicality to solve his clients’ problems. This includes strategies for business models, intellectual property, new market development and building competitive advantage.

From his research, Joel is recognized as one of the world’s foremost experts on open source business strategies, and has been a frequent speaker at open source business conferences. He is also acknowledged as a leading scholar in the emerging area of open innovation, as both an author and the editor of an online clearinghouse of open innovation research. He is seen in one of the leaders in research on strategic openness. His expertise on specific industries — computers, software, Internet and telecommunications — has been quoted in the popular press.

Joel also has more than 20 years’ experience in the software industry, as software engineer, project manager, engineering manager and entrepreneur. As the co-founder and president of a startup, he worked closely with OEM hardware manufacturers to make sure their combined hardware/software systems delivered high reliability and customer satisfaction. He thus has considerable experience defining deliverables and meeting deadlines.

In addition to his own individual work, Joel also has access to other consultants, including noted open innovation researchers Henry Chesbrough and Wim Vanhaverbeke. Each engagement can be structured to best service the client’s priorities and objectives.

Previous Clients

As a strategy consultant, Joel’s clients have included Live365, Medsphere and Symbian. As president of Palomar Software, he delivered OEM software for Hewlett-Packard, as well as Alps Electric, Apple Computer, Fuji Photo Film, Kodak, Seiko Epson and Seiko Instruments.

[BioBiz Blog] [Cleantech Blog] [Open Innovation Blog] [Joel's homepage]