Friday, 18 July 2014

The act of persuasion: an IP perspective

Grab a copy here
Before signing off for the weekend, this Leo would like to draw your attention, in case you’ve not already seen it, to this interesting blogpost titled: The Top 14 TED Talks for Lawyers and Litigators 2014. [Afro Leo loves eye-catching titles beginning with ‘The Top 10’, ‘5 Top’ and so on, but he’s unsure if it’ll work for this blog

The author, Ken Lopez, describes the videos as relevant to lawyers, particularly those in litigation practice. Mr Lopez writes: “…Even though lawyers engage in persuasion all the time, and it is at the core of the work we do, persuasion is something most are street-smart about, not book-smart. In other words, most people's knowledge of how to persuade tends to come naturally or is attained by observing how other talented persuaders behave…” [Indeed, lawyers do this subconsciously. Mediators do it as well - not that they would like to be forthright about it]

No need to watch all 14; a couple will be enough to drive home the message. This Leo only watched the first one, embedded below, and immediately found it relevant, from several angles including IP. [Afro Leo says that government and policymakers, in particular, will learn a lot from this video] As you'll discover, Steve Martin used case studies on crime prevention and the environment to demonstrate how we can influence behaviour change [Sounds like what advertisers do]. One of these was that a signage at the Petrified Forest, which warned visitors against stealing from the park, resulted in an increase in theft incidents in contrast to when it was replaced with a more positive message urging visitors to recognise the value of the park to others. As Mr Martin concluded, a well-intentioned crime prevention strategy inadvertently promoted the crime. Can IP stakeholders, including government and policymakers, learn from this? [The guess is that some are already using this communication strategy]

Essentially, Mr Martin’s suggestion is that if we want others (be it a client, government, or other persons) to do what we want them to do, we should try and tell them about what others, ‘most similar to them’, are doing or have done. He tells us that the reason why this can be effective is that "these people" will most likely follow others "most similar to them". So, for this Leo, simple IP-related examples could be: (a) subtly advising an e-commerce client that its competitor has recently instructed a law firm to look after its online brand image and corporate reputation - a service you also have on offer; or (b) lobbying an African government to change its IP legislation or policy, citing that a neighbouring country (or another in the region) has already done so with positive results. [The latter example is relevant to this Leo as he often refers to other countries (from least-developed to developed) in most of his blogposts]

The key lesson for this Leo is this: attempt to use the subject’s nearest neighbour to persuade the subject. Now that's a difficult one to follow. [Afro Leo also reminds me that “no one size fits all”

Have a nice weekend. :-)

Video 1: TEDxWarwick Speech by Steve Martin

Video 2: Secrets From The Science of Persuasion

Update (19/07/2014): This Leo has just spotted video 2, which is even more instructive. Further food for thought!
International IP Enforcement Summit, discusses the need to ‘change the narrative’ here
The Science and Technology Committee (UK House of Lords) Report on Behaviour Change is here
European Patent Office inspiring innovative people with awards here, and making patents look normal with an advert on CNN here

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