Are You Protecting the Right Turf?

August 22, 2012

Male hummingbirds, those cute little avian rockets, are absolutely vicious when protecting their turf from other males of their species. They’ll fight to the death.

But for physicians, protecting your turf requires a more balanced approach. Especially when it comes to deciding what to protect.

For example, some physicians believe that they will be able to forever protect the four walls of their specialty from encroachment by other specialties or that ever changing market forces, what Joseph Schumpeter called “creative destruction,” should never impact their territory. That’s wishful thinking at best.

On the other hand, many medical groups have developed significant innovations that create value and can be protected. Innovation can remain proprietary to protect your group’s competitive advantage. Or, it can be licensed to other groups. Of course, this means that the creators must take the time, devote the effort, and, yes, make the investment, to protect their rights in those innovations.

It does little good to glorify the past or to try to stop cold major market forces. Some defense is, of course, required, but in the long run, there is more profit (and sanity) in innovating the future.

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