Thursday, August 13, 2009

Another Industrial Observation

So another thing that comes with industrial work is secrecy and lawyers.

When you're in academia, and you go to a conference, run into your friend, and decide over beers that you'd like to collaborate on something, you do it. Even if you are from different institutions. And if someone asks you about what you are working on, you're pretty much delighted to tell them about your brilliant ideas.

When you're in industry, it's fairly easy to collaborate with academics, but other companies, other labs? Forget it! It can be a nightmare. Call the lawyers! Who owns this IP? Good golly. Not only that, there is all sorts of secrecy within the company as well. Who ever heard of a grad student keeping their work under wraps against their own labmates? I'm not talking about the kind of knowledge hoarding like how to use this tool, or how to use this technique. I'm talking about not telling anyone anything about what you are doing at all.

I don't really mind any of these things, it's just quite an interesting transition. It makes life somewhat interesting, this life of intrigue...I think because I am somewhat interested in the business aspects of what I work on...I don't think of my ideas just as in a vacuum. Thus, thinking of the work as a part of holistic view of the company, I don't mind the secrecy because I can see how it is parter of a larger corporate strategy. I would think though, that people who are idea people and don't care about practicalities or business would completely chafe at these sorts of restrictions.

I do sort of mind the lawyers I guess...not that I have anything against lawyers, but having to check with them sometimes about how to interact with colleagues at other corporations is just annoying.

1 comment:

ScienceGirl said...

This is definitely an issue where I am at, although perhaps for very different reasons. I don't think it is ever going to change, so people here just write it off as part of the job. Sad, but necessary.