Today's blog article has kindly been provided by Caroline Day, Patent Attorney and Partner at Haseltine Lake LLP, and is on the topic of unconscious bias. Haseltine Lake is one of our Charter signatories.
Caroline writes: "Research tells us that bias can be reduced by contact: meeting people who confound your biases is a highly effective way to retrain your brain to think differently. But meeting people is hard. You have to identify who it is you want to meet in the first place, and get them to agree to meet you. You have to stop billing, leave the office whatever the weather turns out to be, and may well miss lunch.
There’s good news though. Simply visualising an experience can provide an emotional and motivation responses as strong as the real experience.
So I propose an experiment to challenge a common bias: that the person skilled in the art is male, and most likely white.
This is of course a hypothesis of mine, probably betraying my own bias, but surely reflecting the fact that every expert witness describing the experience of the skilled person I have ever met has been male and white, and that the skilled person may often be generically referred to as he, but only very exceptionally as she. Then we have the predominantly male and white annals of science: not the uninspired ‘skilled person’, but the innovators providing the teaching to be slavishly adhered to. If these chaps are overwhelmingly homogenous, then does this transfer a similar homogeneity on their imagined imitators? To the lazy human brain, I strongly suspect the answer is yes.
Today's blog article has kindly been provided by Pete Fellows, Managing Director at Fellows and Associates, and is an analysis of their recent salary survey. Fellows and Associates is one of our Charter signatories.
Pete writes: "Work/life balance is now the most important single factor for attorneys when they are choosing a new firm.
We’ve just published our salary survey. Unlike most data available of this kind in the industry our survey is filled in by the attorneys themselves instead of being completed by firms on their behalf. Therefore, its value we believe is one of perspective – it gives a view point from the grass roots which may differ from general perceptions (or misconceptions).
One of the questions we asked was one of priority, what would candidates want from a prospective employer? This year work/life balance overtook salary as the most important factor. Flexible working hours remains unchanged as the fourth most important factor and remote working is the seventh. Interestingly all of these factors scored higher than defined career progression, bonus structure and benefits package. So, one might reasonably conclude that a key way to recruit and retain staff would to be ensure that your environment is flexible and open minded. A friendly atmosphere scored third in the list of priorities so perhaps flexibility goes hand in hand with an environment where people feel comfortable in asking for different working arrangements?
Today's blog article has kindly been provided by Lucie Jones, executive paralegal at EIP - Lucie talks about grief and the death of one of her sons, and how hard it is to go back to a 'normal' life.
Lucie writes: "“The line is flat”, whispers my husband, sobbing next to me. “He’s gone.” I feel my face distorted in pain, a huge scream attempting to burst out of my chest and fill the green hospital room. Our son has just passed away. His adorable little body is still in my arms, covered in the electrodes and tubes that we had been hoping would save his life… The unimaginable has just happened and it seems my life has ended too…
…But life goes on and there is a world to face outside the grim hospital: a house filled with a new emptiness, family, friends or neighbours who cannot find the comforting words, and soon enough, often too soon, the suddenly intimidating workplace.
How does it feel to return to work after such a life-changing event? Is there anything an employer can do to help? And what can you do when you see a grief-stricken colleague reappearing in the office with hollow eyes?
Everyone reacts to loss in a different way and unfortunately there is no one size fits all. Having experienced intense grief myself, when one of my twin boys passed away two years ago, I cannot speak for all bereaved people but I can share my experience.
Unconvinced about the business benefits of diversity and inclusivity (D&I)? Having trouble persuading others to engage with these issues?
With help from the Intellectual Property Office's fabulous design team, we've created a poster (below) to illustrate the many business benefits of improved D&I. We hope you can make use of it in your own organisation, to raise awareness, start conversations and bring even the most sceptical of your colleagues on board.
The poster takes the form of a tube map, with each business benefit shown as a "station", along "train lines" representing individual business functions. These lead, ultimately, to better business outcomes: greater profitability, reduced risk and greater productivity and efficiency. What the map is intended to show is how all the benefits inter-connect throughout an organisation, each impacting on several aspects of its activities and outputs. The organisation's internal processes, shown as a kind of "Circle Line" at the heart of the network, cross-link with the other lines to amplify their effects. So improving your diversity and inclusivity can bring improved organisational performance on several levels.
Whether you get on-board through the benefits of better staff retention, improved market responsiveness or more astute decision-making, the D&I tube map can help you to plan your journey to arrive at better business outcomes.
Please download the poster (a PDF version is provided below), print it out and display it somewhere prominent in your offices.
This resource complements the presentation we prepared following our November 2017 workshop on the same subject, which you can download from our resources page. And in case you missed our joint IP Inclusive/CIPA webinar about it on 5 July, here's a link to the recording.
Yes, I’ve worked hard to get where I am today. But for many in our society, hard work would not have been enough. For some it would have been an inaccessible, or at best irrelevant, luxury. So how nice to be able to direct my efforts to things that would genuinely help me progress. How nice to have the time, space, energy and support to make those efforts possible. How nice to come from a background where hard work was valued and encouraged – because if you put it in, it would yield results.
How nice, in other words, to start climbing the mountain from half-way up, with a clear view of the summit and Sherpas to lead the way. And to have the confidence to set out along the path, a confidence that comes of having the right equipment, protective clothing, a good meal inside you and another one waiting. Access to a map and medical support and like-minded companions.
Ryan Compton of the Centre for Resolution, who wrote a series of guest blogs for us recently on disability in the workplace, has let us know about a training event which the Centre is running this October.
Whilst we cannot of course endorse the work of individual providers, we thought some members of the IP Inclusive community might find this course helpful in attracting, supporting and retaining employees with disabilities.
The course will be held at the London Canal Museum,12-13 New Wharf Rd, London N1 9RT, on 16th October 2018 from 12:45 to 16:00. There are a limited number of early bird tickets available until 20th July 2018 which reduces the ticket price from £110.00 to £90.00.
Using case studies, personal reflections, workshops and peer discussions, the training will cover the following topics:
• The Medical and Social Model of Disability;
• Legislation including The Disability Discrimination Act and The Equality Act;
• Reasonable adjustments;
• Funding available for organisations to support employees with disabilities;
• Appropriate language and effective communication;
• Barriers that people with disabilities face;
• Innovative ways to support your disabled employees and customers;
• The difference between empathy and sympathy and the appropriate use of these; and
• Stereotyping and unconscious bias.
To book a place on the course, please visit the website.
IP Inclusive Management (IPIM) is the committee which oversees everything done under the IP Inclusive banner. It looks after our bank account and also formal matters such as third party liability insurance and data protection compliance.
IPIM meets once a month. The minutes of its latest meeting (June) can be downloaded below.
IP Inclusive Leader
Chair, IP Inclusive Management