I retired in April 2013 after 25 years as a librarian at the British Library specialising in inventions. This included running numerous workshops; writing books on inventions and a work blog; carrying out searches for clients; and one-to-one meetings with inventors. [more]


30 April 2014

Open Innovation: 3 companies welcoming inventors

Open innovation is the concept that invention isn't just carried out by a company's staff, but also includes accepting ideas from outside (as well as selling technology out). After all, as Bill Joy of Sun Microsystems has pointed out, most of the smartest people will always work for someone else. This is called Joy' Law.

Many private inventors find it difficult contacting companies with their ideas. Will they be made welcome, or will there be a brush-off, polite or not ? This post lists three large companies which are noted for welcoming ideas from outside. All three are strong in household products.

Procter and Gamble has its Connect + Develop programme.

Unilever has its Open Innovation portal.

Reckittt & Benckiser has its RB-Idealink.

One problem with contacting a very large company, though, is that they are likely to expect a new idea to be a big product line. If the likely turnover is a few million annually it will add little to their massive turnover, so such ideas are best taken to a smaller company.

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