Meet the PARC Interns: Annie and Erik Talk Intellectual Capital Management

Erik Lenning and Annie Söderström are IP Strategy and Business Development Interns at PARC and in the Master of Science, Entrepreneurship and Business Design, Intellectual Capital Management program at Chalmers University.

Can you tell us more about your program and what you’re studying?

Annie: We’re both in the Entrepreneurship and Business Design program at Chalmers University, which is in Goethenburg, Sweden. Eric and I are both in the Intellectual Capital Management track, which is pretty unique because it pulls in people from different disciplines, so we have everyone from engineers to lawyers to chemists in our track.

Erik: Yeah, the university has an engineering history, but now it’s really diverse. For our program, for example, they have other tracks like biotech or corporate entrepreneurship. We’re both about halfway through our master’s programs.

What exactly is Intellectual Capital Management?

Erik: Well, in the past everything was about material, physical things. Now, the world has moved into more of a digital and knowledge economy. That’s the intellectual capital management part, how do you manage that knowledge, take it and formalize it into something you can transact and trade with.

Annie: It’s sort of like, how do you generate value through control? Things like the legal system, copyrights, trade secrets, those can be your tool box to create the value. I think people often think only of patents when they hear intellectual capital, but there are many other factors. It’s not just about protecting something, but really trying to create value.

How did you become interns at PARC all the way from Sweden?

Erik: Chalmers has a strong relationship with PARC, and several interns come to PARC every year. At Chalmers, it’s really hands-on and they focus on the intersection between technology and business, which makes PARC a perfect company. Of course, students from Chalmers also go to other companies around the world, but PARC is a popular choice because of this intersection. You really work with researchers and experts, innovations happen and change at a very real-world speed, it’s all happening around you.

What have you been working on so far this summer at PARC?

Annie: I’ve been working on an industrial printing-related project and Erik has been working on an AR assistants project. For both, the first part of the work is usually mapping and assessing the current technology and assets, internal analysis, what we have, so on and so forth – then it goes into an external outward looking analysis, finding market opportunities, understanding how the industry looks, any potential for commercializing the technology – then the third part is looking at what we have and what is sought after, finding a strategy of path between those – making an IP and entry strategy. We ask questions like, what do you control, what is most valuable, how do you exploit this to the highest potential? Erik and I are lucky in that our roles involve a lot of interaction with PARC researchers.

What have you enjoyed most so far about interning at PARC?

Annie: Definitely the people. We’re part of the Intellectual Capital Management team here at PARC, and Michael, Lisa and Louise have made the experience especially enjoyable, they’ve helped and guided us a lot.

Erik: Yeah, everyone at PARC is really friendly, helpful and generous with their time and knowledge, and of course also super smart and innovative! This kind of culture, the energy here, is so inspiring.

What can you imagine yourself doing in 1 year? 5 years?

Annie: Well, I can’t say about five years [laughs], but maybe within the next one or two years, I could see myself at a place like PARC where the culture is creative, innovative and fast. Maybe even a start-up, getting to really drive an idea, help it become something. Being close to a new technology that can create an impact on the world is pretty exciting.

Have you had a chance to explore California during your time here?

Erik: Yosemite was really nice! Napa, too. Annie has been here before, but this is my first time in the US. Hearst Castle, San Francisco, Santa Cruz and the Stanford campus have all been pretty cool. Oh, and of course driving across the Golden Gate bridge.

Would you rather travel to the past or the future?

Annie: Future.

Erik: Definitely.

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