Mine Mine Mine Mine Mine!!!
This is the whine of many companies, and their innovation strategies. It’s interesting, some companies when approached are more than excited to take a look at new ideas from outside sources (as well as signing simple NDA’s (Non-Disclosure-Agreement) that detail that they won’t share the I.P. independently developed and produced with outside developers own time and money).
It’s surprising that so many places dismiss an outside idea. Especially since many outer opportunities, while not fully able to fit with their company can, at least introduce new ideas, thoughts, and concepts to them. Granted, most that look at outer company’s ideas simply find an intellectual property work-around and knock them off to get in the same product category.
Companies should realize that the level of monetary benefit alone exceeds the simple “cost of signing an NDA” (which, to be sure is the simplicity of writing their name, and faxing or emailing a document back). At that point, they can receive the document, prototype, or presentation, and identify the next action (there you go GTDers).
The real thing that companies need to remember is that if someone truly brings you a good idea,, you will NOT LOSE MONEY ON IT. People are bringing you an idea (protected already by at the very least a provisional patent pending, to prove it is theirs). If someone has brought you a beneficial product design, give it a fair shake. You’re only supporting a small group (those who have brought you their idea), while you’re, likely large company benefits every time from an innovative product. With a new product in a new section of your product portfolio, you can always make more money on a idea that you manufacture in house. While the designer you are licensing to may require money, and a percentage of your profits, the money you will be making will always be more than they are making and can make your efforts more than worth your own time.
I would love some feedback on this, but I feel that I’ve got something here. As an independent developer, this is the only way for myself and others that do this sort of thing to succeed. People like me aren’t looking to “take all your money”. Our overhead is usually a computer, a small shop (think a few hand tools), our cost to live, the cost of patenting, and the time and effort to develop a product that seems to fit your company’s industry. It’s often vastly cheaper than having an independent design house do the work (though I do support them entirely), but more often these are people that are seeking you out, and have a passion to help you and your company. These are people that like what you’re doing and want to be helpful, just give em’ a chance is all I’m saying.
Sign that NDA.
See what they have to say.
At worst, make a friend, you never know when that idea will come up again, and be just what your company needs to get ahead!
Just a little food for thought for the day.