Report issued on the future of AIPPI

By Simon Crompton
from AIPPI Congress News

A study on AIPPI’s mission and strategy has produced a range of recommendations, some of them controversial. simon Crompton looks at the important points

In September, Robin Rolfe Resources (RRR) delivered its report on the AIPPI Strategy Objectives Project, the structure of which had been put together in 2011 by an AIPPI Task Force led by John Bochnovic. The aim of the Project was to assess AIPPI’s purposes and activities with particular attention to member satisfaction and increasing membership.

The report contains a large range of recom- mendations, from the structure of the AIPPI website to the structure of the organisation itself. Some of them are quite controversial and will probably take a long time to debate and implement. Others, such as changes to communications, can be done almost imme- diately.

The AIPPI Bureau has already discussed the Project and given a report to the Council of Presidents, which met on Friday afternoon. The Executive Committee will now meet this morning to talk through the details of the Re- port, having had the conclusions presented by Robin Rolfe. It is expected that the Bureau will then present its plan to the Committee, which may vote on it.

“We want to move this forward as quickly as we can,” says Bochnovic, though the more fundamental recommendations may require a vote by the General Assembly. “This is an exciting time for AIPPI. We have been given a great platform from which to make some strong decisions and drive the future of this organisation,” he continues.

Dramatic and direct
Bochnovic describes the recommendations as “dramatic and direct” and that’s reflected in both the language of the Report and the sweeping nature of its conclusions. Among the language included, the executive summa- ry describes AIPPI’s organisational structure as “unnecessarily complicated and cumber- some”; AIPPI is said to have “stalled in ful- filling its purpose”; and one respondent to a survey is quoted as describing AIPPI as “too old, too white, too male, too European, too IP boutique, too patent”.
As to the recommendations, they include changing the structure of AIPPI so it is far more centralised, with less power for the na- tional and regional groups. This “loose alli- ance … over which AIPPI has little authority, giv[es] rise to inconsistency and ineffective- ness” and undermines the advantage of being such a large, international organisation.

The moves that would centralise AIPPI in- clude accepting members that are not part of a group and controlling the membership dues centrally, before feeding them back out to the groups. Just as significant are the recommenda- tions on the scientific work done by AIPPI. Considering four questions at each Congress is not enough, it is suggested, and sometimes those questions are not up to date. But more importantly, there is an opportunity for the organisation to increase its influence, leader- ship in the industry and appeal to members if it is more active in trying to make its resolu- tions a reality.

Making a difference
For RRR, this is the most important question AIPPI and its members must answer: “Does itwanttostayasitisandappealtothose who see its ‘scientific work’ and intellectual studies as paramount?” Because “it cannot lead by issuing resolutions or reports and leaving implementation to chance. AIPPI’s leadership will be measured by its ability to be influential – to make a difference and have an impact”.

This fundamental change to AIPPI’s pur- pose and direction may be “unnecessary or too aggressive”. But there are other, easily im- plemented recommendations as well. Many of these have already been suggested in the past by the Membership and Communications Committees. For example, the scientific work that is available on the website needs to be better organised, edited and managed so that it can be more easily accessed – and possibly even sold as a research tool to create an alter- native source of income to membership dues.

On the membership side, AIPPI’s image comes across well from the surveys conducted by RRR – even though it is seen as less relevant than it used to be. That could be changed, the Report suggests, by a range of moves including a corporate membership rate, industry- specific committees and joint ventures with academic bodies. It would also benefit the association to promote individual members in different regions who could act as leaders, and recruiters, in their respective areas.

AIPPI Mission Strategy Charts

Nine Recommendations

AIPPI should become more influential. It must try to make its ideas on harmonisation a reality, and publicise those efforts to demonstrate the organisation’s relevance.

The national groups have too much control. AIPPI must become centralised, with the introduction of direct membership (rather than just through a group) and possibly membership dues being received centrally.

The management structure is “unnecessarily complicated” with two “essentially identical decision-making bodies”. The executive committee, council of presidents and bureau must be given separate roles.

The association needs more permanent staff, who will help with the development of the groups and relationships with members.

Joint ventures with academia and industry-specific committees should be established to help fill holes in membership and awareness among those two groups.

Although AIPPI finances are stable, they are heavily dependent on membership dues. Advertising and other sources of revenue should be considered.

Releases need to make use of more editorial techniques and reports should be edited by a native English speaker.

Scientific Work:
More than four questions must be addressed at every Congress and the designation ‘scientific’ should be reconsidered.

The Congress meetings should be annual and planning for them should be taken away from the group in the host country.

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