What was your highlight of 2021?
Without a doubt the way the amazing IPO team has dealt with so much over the year. The highlight began at the very start of the year – the Brexit impact on the IPO was massive and we had the “small” task of creating over 2 million new rights on 1 January. This went without a hitch and was a brilliant piece of work by the team. It also meant that we then had to deal with a significantly higher workload: over 50% for trademarks and designs, new policy functions, major recruitment, business growth and a major transformation programme. The team dealt with all of this while operating remotely, and I am so proud of what they achieved.
How did you tackle the biggest challenges facing your organisation in 2021?
The breadth of issues we faced was probably the biggest challenge, from unprecedented volumes, to big questions like: “Can machines invent and create?” and “What is the future rights exhaustion scheme for the UK?” We also negotiated trade agreements, recruited lots of staff, explored future ways of working, as well as driving forward a major transformation programme, including our largest ever procurement. We tackled all of this through a great team effort and staff development – as well as recruiting great new talent.
What is your number one priority for 2022?
A difficult one. Deliver the next steps on our transformation programme, as this represents the future of the office, is probably number one. Although getting more people to understand the importance of IP, which is at the heart of making the UK the most innovative and creative country in the world, is a close second.
Which historical, mythical or contemporary figure would you most like to join you for a New Year’s Eve celebration?
I have a picture of Aneurin “Nye” Bevan standing at the front door of the farm I live on and would like to celebrate the new year with him by raising a toast to the fantastic work of the NHS, the role it has played in fighting the pandemic and to discuss his thoughts on how it should meet the future challenges.