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Benchmarking - legal IP theft?

Who would have thought that one of the key topics of 2020 would be IP theft? I definitely didn’t. But here we are, over half the way through 2020, easily the most challenging year of my life and the second page of most news sites have articles about IP theft.


Some researchers have even said that China’s corporate espionage outweighs all other spying and surveillance, by every other country, combined!

Microsoft has even been asked to purchase the US arm of TikTok to reduce risk (for an asking price of 30 billion USD…)

So how do small and medium businesses keep up, when some of the largest companies in the world use underhanded techniques to stay on top? If you are like me than ethically you will have more than a few issues with blatantly copying technology, processes and products. But there are legal ways that can help you sleep straight at night.

Benchmarking isn’t new. It’s what allowed the US economy to catch up, and then surpass its European counterparts in the late 1800s and early 1900s.[1] And it isn’t uncommon. When you are looking at buying a new car, all the key details are displaying in the same way across every brand to allow like for like comparisons. So why aren’t more SME’s taking advantage of this data for their own businesses?

It might be that it’s not well known or that finding the right data source for Australasian SME’s is too difficult (after all, the last few months have shown that we aren’t as similar to the US as we used to be!). The STAR Workplace Program has been benchmarking Australasian businesses holistically since 2008 – with over 850 businesses from 20 industries now making up the data. Businesses just like yours have undertaken the program to measure how they perform on key metrics, and how that compares against other businesses that play in the same market. Recently, this data has been used to build the brand new, 100% virtual, Fusion Culture Program.

It's not as sexy as corporate espionage, but it does keep you on the leading edge (and sleeping straight at night!).


[1] Scranton, P. (1997) Endless novelty: specialty production and American industrialization, 1865-1925. Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press.

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