By Emily Moorhead
If you’ve ever been in a research and development meeting, you know they can be a blast. Playing with and testing new “toys,” whether techy or utilitarian in nature, can be thrilling because you get to experience your company’s next product first hand. However, R&D meetings aren’t always fun. Sometimes they can be downright frustrating, with department heads arguing, products malfunctioning, and designers struggling to come up with new ideas. When companies accept idea submissions from outside their organization, such as through an inventor, the situation changes just a bit. Although it is still necessary to go through research and development, you’re suddenly working with someone else’s idea, one that seems fresh and exciting to your company. When working with inventors, companies benefit in many ways.
If there’s one thing that is consistent about all inventors, it is that they are passionate about their ideas and inventions. Passion in essential when developing a new product. By connecting with inventors, companies can work with individuals who have the drive and work ethic needed to get things done. Although some inventors may need a company’s insight to improve on their product, there is no replacing the passion they put into their ventures. Inventors will do anything needed to push their inventions forward.
Thinking Outside the Box
It can be easy for companies to lose sight of their customers, their lifestyles, and their wants and needs because they are so far removed from them. However, if an inventor has created a product that fits into your line, they are more than likely a part of your consumer base. Inventors create inventions that solve the day-to-day problems they are experiencing. When companies accept inventor submissions, they are able to tap into what their customers want to see in the marketplace. Inventors not only give companies an insight into the problems or situations their customers are facing, but also provide unique solutions to these problems.
According to BusinessDictionary.com, tacit knowledge is an unwritten, unspoken, and hidden vast storehouse of knowledge held by practically every normal human being, based on his or her emotions, experiences, insights, intuition, observations and internalized information. How can this relate to inventors? Scientists agree that inventors get their inspiration at least in part from tacit knowledge, which encompasses their life experiences, personal observations, individual talents, and more. Because tacit knowledge is incredibly difficult to share and no two people (or person and company) could possibly have the same tacit knowledge, an inventor will have different inspiration than a company or the staff on a research and development team. By accepting inventor submissions, a company increases its likelihood of receiving innovative products through tacit knowledge.
Innovation is beneficial to society. By accepting inventor submissions, companies encourage inventors of all ages, races, genders, locations, and socio-economic backgrounds to continue to invent. Some of the best inventions of all time were made by individuals, not by companies. Some companies that accept inventor submissions are Clorox, OXO, Black & Decker, Procter & Gamble, and Everlast. Only by inspiring society as a whole to be innovative and making invention possible to average, everyday people, improvements can be made in health, science, infrastructure, and more. The collaboration between companies and inventors encourages an atmosphere of innovation.
Companies should consider accepting inventor submissions because of the many various benefits to the company and to society in general. An inventor’s passion, ability to think outside the box, problem solving skills, and tacit knowledge can have a positive impact on innovative companies. Additionally, by encouraging innovation, companies benefit society as a whole. Inventors can be one of the best untapped resources for companies looking to improve their product lines.