Big Guys Dance With The Little People

“We desire proprietary, commercially viable products and technologies for our existing categories and for new solutions that will make our products better tasting, better for you, more convenient or more socially responsible.” -Kraft
Once upon a time, inventors with big ideas had to keep them to themselves, for fear of “losing” them to a large corporation. That is, if the large corporation would even listen.
But now the whole world’s going open source. According to The Wall Street Journal, Kraft, P&G and General Mills “are increasingly looking outside their own corridors” for new product ideas.

It’s a significant shift for many big companies, long famous for guarding trade secrets and mostly looking within for new ideas. Entrepreneurs and inventors submit an average of 40 to 50 new ideas to Kraft each month through Dozens of ideas, which may also be submitted in writing or by phone, have become new products or enhancements of existing products, the company says.

Cheryl Perkins, founder and president of Innovationedge, a Neenah, Wis., consulting company that helps entrepreneurs and start-ups work with big businesses, says if an idea is patentable, get the patent. If not, something as simple as a trademark or even buying an applicable domain name can help persuade a big company that you have an intellectual asset that’s worth buying from you.
“Once you own it, it’s yours. It’s very intriguing for a company to acquire a bundle of assets, rather than just a patent,” Ms. Perkins says.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.