As we look back on another successful IGNITE! conference, we can begin to reflect on a wonderful, whirlwind few days in sunny Monaco. There are so many events worth mentioning – from thought-provoking keynote speeches and insightful best practice sessions to the gala dinner and customer awards – picking a single highlight is impossible. For us, though, the most important thing was that IGNITE! allowed us to spend invaluable time with our customers, discussing the things that matter.

We don’t put on this conference just to have fun with our customers (although this matters too, of course), we do it because they are at the front and centre of everything we do and spending time with them is paramount. In creating the opportunity for meaningful face-time we can really get to grips with their priorities and concerns, so that we can in turn offer solutions that meet their specific needs.

IGNITE! provides an ideal forum for this vital exchange whilst also offering the chance for product training and tutorials as well as best practice sessions which dive into key issues, mapping out what digital transformation journeys look like in concrete terms. The gala dinner and customer awards also provide us with the opportunity to reward and thank our customers, who continue to be an inspiration for us.

Following on from the launch of our New IP campaign, we chose to make digital transformation the central theme for this year’s conference.

In my keynote speech on Tuesday morning, I reflected on what this fascinating topic means for us: in an increasingly fast-changing and interconnected environment, it is our mission to ensure that the ideas that change the world are enhanced by the IP machinery that manages them and not constrained by them – something we call ‘Frictionless IP’. Indeed, we’ve made driving forward this new and frictionless IP environment the foundation of our strategy as a business – informing all of our priorities from M&A to product and service development to firm culture.

As Pierre Legrand of PwC highlighted in his speech, digital transformation must result in a deep rethink for all business leaders – as the digital world will upend what it means to be a leader and change what is required from leadership. Other events from this year’s conference, notably the keynote speeches from Louis Pachebat of Sanofi and Timo Helosuo of Kolster as well as the best practice session led by Maja Schmitt of DSM, offered terrific and detailed insights into what transformation journeys actually look like on the ground.

Discussion surrounding the digital transformation imperative was clearly at the heart of this year’s IGNITE! but so was its actual implementation, notably on the challenges of bringing people and teams on board for the journey. Sophisticated organisations operating in the global IP industry are built on great people, and it is vital that businesses secure talent buy-in, after all, the success of any change programme relies on the employees that will make it a reality.

As we heard from our guests, in any given organisation there will always be a group of people who enthusiastically embrace change, a majority who feel uneasy about it and a small minority who will be extremely resistant. The best way to navigate this is through a pedagogical process that convinces a large majority of talent of the benefits of change through training, upskilling and demonstrating how digital transformation will improve their own experience in the workplace and their career fulfilment. This may mean illustrating how tech can eliminate time-consuming administrative tasks or provide unprecedented business intelligence to help foster closer client relationships.

As the IP industry embarks on this exciting change, leaders must ensure they bring their people with them. If this happens, we are confident that in ten years’ time the IP industry will have adopted the digital practices necessary to create the new, frictionless IP to power innovation for years to come.