<p>Intellectual property (IP) licensing is a content-centric strategy that allows companies to purchase or license patented material and then deliver it in a manner that suits the specific needs of the business. In the learning and development sphere, it allows organizations to access tools, strategies and systems, but does not constrain the licensor in the way the content is presented. <br /><br />This approach offers a more flexible alternative to what John Elsey, president and CEO of ESI International, a business management consultancy, dubs the &ldquo;pay-as-you-go model&rdquo; of accessing content.<br /><br />&ldquo;The traditional pay-as-you-go model is an increasingly unsatisfactory way of addressing a particular business issue,&rdquo; Elsey said. &ldquo;It bundles the concepts of content &mdash; i.e., what the intellectual property is &mdash; together with modality, and it also comes with other inflexibilities around the procurement and purchasing components.&rdquo;<br /><br />Indeed, IP licensing allows the customer to procure intellectual property free of the constraints of a packaged content implementation platform.<br /><br />&ldquo;It&rsquo;s the isolation of the intellectual property on its own,&rdquo; Elsey said. &ldquo;The organization can take that element and begin to construct the solution that best suits its requirements from that point forward.&rdquo;<br /><br />For businesses with established internal training functions, licensing intellectual property is a means of shipping in top-class content, but delivering it via internal resources and trainers. For those without, the added versatility of IP licensing means they can bring in external groups to mold company-specific learning platforms. Regardless, it is a more effective and efficient way of distributing content.<br /><br />The potential return on investment (ROI) of IP licensing stems from both its versatility and, more importantly, its cost-effectiveness. The interdepartmental scope for mass IP procurement presents companies with opportunities to take advantage of discounts that aren&rsquo;t viable in more structured content packages.<br /><br />&ldquo;We&rsquo;ve found it to be a useful vehicle for organizations with many different departments and budgets because people can aggregate those together and drive volume concessions,&rdquo; Elsey said. <br /><br />The cost-effectiveness of IP licensing is compounded by the fact that its flexibility allows functions to use up their budgets without committing to concrete implementation platforms. <br /><br />&ldquo;When people know they have need within their organization, somebody can spend the [budget] money they have available against the sublicense of a body of intellectual property,&rdquo; Elsey said. &ldquo;They aren&rsquo;t suddenly constrained by having to deliver 27 classes between the end of November [and] December.&rdquo;<br /><br />However, while companies that readily identify need but want to maintain flexibility will profit from IP licensing, the greatest potential benefactors are those organizations that are large and globally dispersed. Whereas learning and development aids would have been traditionally procured locally, the emergence of intellectual property strategy means that said businesses can audit their global needs, make a cost-efficient volume commitment and still maintain leverage over the implementation details.<br /><br />In an unpredictable economic climate, IP licensing can offer corporations&rsquo; L&D departments the versatility they need to develop new, more efficient training strategies. According to Elsey, it is never too early to consider how this emerging trend can positively impact an organization. <br /><br />&ldquo;The earlier companies begin to have a dialogue around what IP licensing can do for them, the better the chance that they will get a better ROI,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;They will be able to include additional audiences in the scope that they otherwise would not have been able to, both for cost reasons and for access reasons.&rdquo; </p>


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