The Inventor Advisory Service at Danish Technological Institute

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Kasper Birkeholm Munk, Leader of the Inventor Advisory Service

Welcome to the Inventor Advisory Service At the Inventor Advisory Service (IAS) we believe that great ideas are all around us just waiting to be discovered. From our 40 years of experience, we have seen first-hand that ideas and concepts do not just come into existence from fancy laboratories they can appear due to everyday inspiration, in your kitchen, garage or classroom. Looking at the world through these lenses, we see enormous potential for innovation, potential which can bring growth on both the business and societal level. Our specialty is to nurture these ideas and make it easier for the inventors to make them come alive. Our approach is based on ‘help to help yourself’. The goal is to coach and empower the inventor to become the

lead driver in the commercialization process. The IAS is run by the Centre for Ideas and Innovation at the Danish Technological Institute. We hope you will enjoy this little booklet about the quintessential Danish Inventor Advisory Service. If you have questions, comments or feel inspired to leverage the idea potential of citizens in your country, do not hesitate to get back to us. We would be happy to collaborate and share our insights.

Kasper Birkeholm Munk Leader of the Inventor Advisory Service Centre for Ideas and Innovation Danish Technological Institute 3



Danish Technological Institute


Centre for Ideas and Innovation


The Inventor Advisory Service


The Inventor School Service


FabLab TI



Danish Technological Institute Danish Technological Institute (DTI) is a self-owned, not-for-profit organization. From our independent standpoint in the market, we develop, apply and disseminate research and technological knowledge to the international business sector. Drawing on our solid foundation of over 100 years of research in various areas, our thirty-eight business units contribute to the development of both the private and public sphere on multiple levels. Our mission – your value Our most important task is to ensure that new and innovative knowledge and technology is quickly converted into value for our customers. This value can take many forms such as new and improved pro6

ducts, materials, processes, methods and organizational structures. Combining our main areas of knowledge with multiple testing facilities both in Denmark and abroad our main areas of expertise are: »» Innovation and competitiveness »» Management and training »» Sustainable exploitation of resources We also carry out consultancy and standardization services, which contribute to a dynamic and harmonious development of society.

»» FACTS DTI’s revenue in 2013 was EUR 145 million: »» Ten percent from performance contracts »» Twenty-four percent from research and development activities »» Twenty-seven percent from international customers »» Thirty-nine percent from Danish customers


»» FACTS Centre for Ideas and Innovation’s areas of expertise: »» Strategic product or service development »» Screening of ideas and business concepts »» Commercialization of ideas or IPR under license »» Developing and implementing new business models »» Open and employee-driven innovation processes »» Identifying trends within new technological solutions


Centre for Ideas and Innovation As one of DTI’s thirty-eight business units, our area of expertise is innovative business development. We strive to create effective synergies between companies, public organizations, research institutions, end users and citizens. Participating in large, publicly financed projects, both nationally and internationally, we perform commercial activities in the field of innovation, idea development, business development and new business models with companies and public institutions of all sizes. Our mission – your growth At the Centre for Ideas and Innova-

tion, it is our goal to make it easier for companies or public organizations to grow and develop their potential. Whether it is a new product line, organizational structure or a more creative mindset – we have the innovative toolbox needed to take on every aspect of the process. Customized process Our approach is to customize our innovation techniques to the individual organizational culture we meet in each task and adapting to the specific challenges and creative opportunities. The key motivation is to enable innovation, making it easier for people and organizations to develop and grow. 9

The Inventor Advisory Service



The Inventor Advisory Service The IAS is a unique innovation constellation, which at present only exists in Denmark. Since its start in 1972 the aim of the IAS has been to offer free of charge support, advice and counselling to Danish citizens with great ideas. Since then, we have been helping inventors to commercialize their ideas by licensing them to existing companies. Your idea can come to life The IAS is funded by the Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation and reaches out to more than 5000 Danish citizens every year. As a result, approximately 1000 unique inventions are screened. On average, since 1972 we have helped 15-20 inventors negotiate license agreements with existing 12

companies each year and in the process screened more than 40,000 inventions. One can imagine the breadth and variety of ideas and inventions that we have seen during the lifetime of the IAS. Every step of the way Our advisors support inventors from early conceptualization to commercialization in a distinctly practical way. Based on the concept of ‘help to help yourself’ we coach and empower the inventor to become the lead driver in his own commercialization process. Our advisors are experts in intellectual property rights and legal processes, which give an inventor the necessary help and guidance towards success.

»» FACTS Total turnover generated in 16 companies from license agreements is DKK 2.76 billion (EUR 370 million) and 333 Danish jobs in the period from 2000-2009 (IAS’s impact assessment).


The Inventor Advisory Service - Case 1 W indow fastener keeps thieves out of Danish homes After several break-ins in his home, precision mechanic Jan Pedersen was getting tired of his windows always being broken into by thieves. Motivated to find a solution, he used his mechanical skills to develop a more durable window fastener. Early in the process, Jan Pedersen involved the IAS and during the proces of develloping the fastener, different companies were presented with the product. Unfortunately, none of the companies took an interest. After a long process and search for an interested company, he met Lindrucker Aps, a company which makes safe home solutions and whose CEO also experienced multiple break-ins to his home. Together they developed a virtually unbreakable window fastener. 14

A rewarding journey The window fastener is currently sold at selected DIY centers, locksmiths and web shops. Furthermore, the largest insurance companies in Denmark recommend the fastener. In total, it took five years for Jan Pedersen’s invention to travel from his kitchen table to the shelves of a store. How did we help? The IAS helped the inventor make contact to relevant companies and likewise advised him during preparation of the product presentation. In addition, the IAS facilitated access to documentation and recommendations from technical experts at the DTI and other external partners. All geared towards marketing his product to interested companies. The IAS also introduced the inventor to a company within our extensive business network that proved to be a good match. Then the IAS took part in the negotiations and drafted the license agreement between the two parties.

 FACTS The Inventor Advisory Service is a public scheme that has been financed by the Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation since 1972. Since then, the service has undergone further development and now includes the Inventor School Service and a FabLab.



The Inventor Advisory Service - Case 2 N ew assistive lift technology reduces risk of back injury for healthcare staff Back problems are the most common type of work-related injuries amongst healthcare workers in Denmark. Lifting elderly people when they have fallen is a common cause for these injuries. For many years, the only solution has been heavy technical machinery such as lifts – at least until Anders Søndergaard, a mechanical engineer, came along. A journey of development It took the inventor a great deal of trial and error before he was able to create a battery operated, light, easy to use and mobile lifting chair to help people get back on their feet in a quick and safe manner.

suitable company to produce the chair began. A dynamic partnership The search led to the company Liftup A/S. Within half a year, the company developed the Raizer Chair, where the back is pushed underneath an injured person, and an engine elevates the person to a seated or standing position. With this, healthcare workers are not required to do heavy lifting. Anders Søndergaard decided to sell his invention to Liftup A/S for a one-time fee. How did we help? The IAS assisted and guided the inventor throughout the process and facilitated the final agreement between the inventor and Liftup A/S.

Anders Søndergaard first notified the IAS about his idea in 2012, and the search for a 17

The Inventor Advisory Service - Case 3 rine got tired of having a sticky handball T ruining the content of her training bag Handballs are sticky because of the resin used by handball players to get a good, firm grip of the ball and to make precise passes during training and matches. Trine Bruun Andersen, a pro handball player, got tired of getting the contents of her training bag ruined by the resin. A prototype made on grandmother’s sewing machine One day she took matters into her own hands and created a bag for her handball using her grandmother’s old sewing machine. Trine Bruun Andersen then contacted the Danish manufacturer of sporting goods, Select. The company did not immediately buy 18

into the idea. Nevertheless, Trine Bruun Andersen persistently collected valuable statements from retail stores and potential customers to prove to the company that there was an actual need in the market. The company finally realized the potential in Trine’s invention and is now serving a market with well over 120,000 people playing handball – in Denmark alone. How did we help her? Trine Bruun Andersen systematically followed the Inventor’s 10 Step Model developed by the IAS. During initial contact with different companies and especially during final negotiations, the IAS played a lead role in securing a good deal for her and signing a state of the art license agreement.


The Inventor School Service


 FACTS Each year we train and educate more than 2000 students and teachers. Our approach is distinctly practical and hands-on with focus on idea development and idea validation through prototyping, visualization and user involvement.


The Inventor School Service The Inventor School Service offers education and training for educational institutions - both teachers and students at all levels. The School Service’s approach to working with entrepreneurship and innovation is distinctly practical. Inspired by creativity theory and innovative theory of teaching the training is designed to give teachers and students a transformative learning experience. Innovation in practice The Inventor School Service employs practical methods and tools aimed especially at the early stages of idea generation and idea validation. Students and teachers are trained to identify new areas of innovation and to converte these into relevant concept development through a hands-on 22

approach often using the FabLab TI workshop for model and prototype building. Solving real life problems Training is typically based on real life challenges sourced from local businesses or organizations. This approach is highly motivating for the students and it also creates increased collaboration between educational institutions, local businesses, and society. Outreach and a strong network The Inventor School Service has an immense outreach with educational institutions all over Denmark. Likewise, we participate as judges, mentors and jurors in all major innovation and entrepreneur-ship competitions in Denmark.

 FACTS The focal point of the Inventor School Service is the practical art of working with idea development, prototyping, visualization of ideas, and idea validation. The service is free of charge.


 FACTS Solving real life problems in an educational setting makes idea development relevant. It is highly motivating for students to work with real life customers and recognizable issues. It generates a lot of positive energy and strong learning in the process.


The Inventor School Service - Case 1 Students co-create solutions for Denmark’s largest music festival The Danish music festival, Roskilde Festival, attracts more than 100,000 guests every year. During this week-long festival the large crowd creates tons of garbage, including four million cigarette butts and over a million plastic cups. When the crowd leaves, a trail of garbage including thousands of tents and tent poles stay behind, causing a hazard to the cattle that normally graze in the festival venue fields. Together with Osted Continuation School, the Inventor School Service decided to take action. Divergent thinking churns out new solutions The Inventor School Service facilitated a daylong workshop involving the students in sta-

te of the art creative idea development. The outcome was fantastic and many solutions resulted. Some focused on reuse of garbage as raw materials in other processes; some focused on awareness creation; and some had a more conceptual or product-specific focus. Two specific solutions caught the attention of the festival organizers – a small, portable ashtray made of reusable materials and the idea of painting tent poles with orange luminescent paint, making them easier to find by cleaning crews. A prototype come to life Roskilde Festival was very pleased with the many different suggestions and have already implemented some of the ideas, including the portable ashtray which is offered to the festival crowd.


FabLab TI


 FACTS FabLab is short for Fabrication Laboratory. A FabLab is a technical prototyping platform for innovation and inventions, providing stimulus for local entrepreneurship. The first FabLab originated from MIT and there are now more than 350 FabLabs around the world.


FabLab TI - Fabrication Laboratory ”A small industrial revolution to democratize the development of new products and concepts,” the Mayor of Høje-Taastrup on the opening of the IAS’ FabLab TI.

yees are ready with innovative coaching and practical experience. FabLab TI is open to the public two days a week.

The goal of the FabLab TI is to offer a creative and high technology prototype workspace to all citizens.

A strong history The lab is a part of the movement first started by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Professional tools and coaching 3D-printers, laser cutters and CNC machines are all available at the FabLab TI. Activities range from peer-to-peer project-based technical training to local problem-solving and small-scale prototype development and innovative business training. At all times the FabLab emplo-

Besides offering high tech equipment to all citizens, the only demand of a FabLab is that it must continue to evolve and share the innovative knowledge generated. FabLabs have spread to over 40 countries including Boston in USA, rural India, South Africa to the north of Norway.


 FACTS FabLabs share a common set of tools and processes. A prototyping facility is not the equivalent of a FabLab. A 3D-printer is not a FabLab. The idea is that all the labs can share knowledge, designs, and collaborate across international borders.


 FACTS A FabLab is a platform for learning and innovation: a place to play, to create, to learn, to mentor, and to invent. To be a FabLab means connecting to a global community of learners, educators, technologists, researchers, makers and innovators - a knowledge sharing network that spans across 40 countries and 24 time zones. Because all FabLabs share common tools and processes, the movement is building a global network, a distributed laboratory for research and invention.


FabLab TI - Case 1 S ustainable household management


The environmental effects of household waste is one of the biggest challenges facing municipalities and regions in most western countries. A busy household can generate a great deal of waste, and the amount of household waste can increase radically in developed countries, which rely heavily on packaging for a wide variety of products. For people living in apartments, the space required to implement sorting solutions makes it difficult for them to actually use the sorting solutions at hand.

dents have put their invention, the sustainable waste pockets, on the market. Open-source design The sustainable waste pockets are a multifunction garbage sorting system which can be adjusted to fit precise settings. The idea came from two students - Anne Berg Villumsen and Tobias Tøstesen. The first prototype came to life at the FabLab TI. Inspired by the vision behind the FabLab the two students used co-creation and social media to get feedback on their design. Finally, the IAS helped the two students get a license deal with the company Valbeing.

Together with FabLab TI, two stu31

CONTACT The Inventor Advisory Service: Kasper Birkeholm Munk Leader of the Inventor Advisory Service Cell: +45 72 20 28 05 Email: The Inventor School Service: Anette Høgh Sonnichsen Consultant at the Inventor School Service Cell: +45 72 20 28 52 Email: FabLab TI: Rune Rex Consultant at FabLab TI Cell: +45 72 20 11 53 Email:

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