Inventor recognition programs can excite and motivate faculty and other inventors to participate in the innovation ecosystem, says Laura Schoppe, MBA, MSE, president of the technology transfer consulting firm Fuentek LLC in Cary, NC. But it takes more than just a quick thank you lunch to have a significant impact. “When you have an awards event and do it well, it has a lot more meaning for inventors than you may realize,” Schoppe says. “Everyone comes back from the event talking about how wonderful it was, and the people who didn’t attend ask, ‘Why wasn’t I invited?’ So it creates a conversation — and a desire to be part of the party the next time.”