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Gen-i Uncovers Hidden VIPs

AUCKLAND, 22 June 2001 - Internet integrator, gen-i limited has uncovered VIPs that the company didn’t even know it had.

While all the staff are certainly very important people, not all the new-found assets go down in the elevator each evening.

The term refers to a recent initiative to develop what gen-i calls “Viable Intellectual Property”- an initiative that has so far yielded sufficient results to warrant it becoming an ongoing exercise.

The VIP programme is part of a drive to uncover the intellectual property the company owns but which it is unaware of or isn’t using to its full commercial potential.

Programme manager Louise Brewer, says 100 potentially valuable items of IP have been identified by staff. A two day workshop for 20 executives and team representatives honed this list down to the top five which are currently in the process of further development.

“gen-i has developed some very smart processes and methodologies - many used internally or created for specific projects, said Louise. “We haven’t taken the opportunity to identify these as products or services that have economic value in their own right.”

In evaluating an idea, Louise said, the team judged its viability against the following criteria:

- The value it added to the gen-i business

- Potential sales value over a 3 year period

- Cost to take it to market

- Cost of further development

- Cost of on-going development

- Cost of on-going support

One of the applications to be developed as a result of the programme is a knowledge sharing system for accessing information on people, projects and products.

Called iCentre (for Intelligence Centre) it is gen-i’s own development for managing access to its staff, the projects they have worked on and the products they have developed or participated in, as well as providing them with a fully searchable interface to specific back-end systems.

“iCentre is a solution to a classic problem faced by most organisations; that of knowledge sharing. This often occurs as an organisation grows and is not recognised until it is a real problem, making business management & communication extremely difficult,” Louise said.

“We identified a huge gap in our ability to un-earth and find information and the people associated with that information; the knowledge was often only held by one or two people and hidden in a plethora of files with the whereabouts only known by a few. And of course when they left this knowledge walked out the door.

“We wanted to work within our existing corporate culture to ensure maximum potential for continued innovation and therefore did not want to introduce new processes and procedures for doing things. So we decided to develop an application to meet our requirements. It falls into the category of Intellectual Property we own and can develop into a marketable product.”

Louise says the search for valuable IP has progressed to the stage where gen-i staff are regularly bringing her ideas and products for the programme.

“What’s really exciting about this exercise is uncovering the valuable products and practises we have created but weren’t communicated or catalogued.”

“This shows the true meaning of intellectual property and searches like this are something more companies should consider,” she said.

gen-i is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Cullen Investments Limited. gen-i's blue chip clients include Air New Zealand Ansett, Department of Corrections, Department of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, National Australia Bank, New Zealand Dairy Board, Simpson Grierson and WestpacTrust.


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