Author Archives: Paul Sloane

Overcome Customer Concerns – Transfer the Risk

During the economic depression which followed the financial crash of 2009 car sales slumped across America.  Automobile makers tried all sorts of promotions, many featuring big price cuts, but they could not lure buyers onto their forecourts and persuade them to buy.  Rebates and other traditional incentives just were not working.  Hyundai USA took a different approach.  They kept asking ...

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What is your Waterproof Teabag?

Consider for a moment these self-contradictory innovations: The solar-powered flashlight The inflatable dartboard The underwater hairdryer The waterproof teabag The concrete liferaft At first sight they look silly but each contains the germ of an interesting idea. You can charge up a solar-powered flashlight in daylight and then take it into a cave. The inflatable dartboard is easy to transport ...

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Profit from Your Idea with a Patent

A patent can be taken out on almost any new implementable idea.  It is not just about protecting your idea.  Your patents are part of your Intellectual Property (IP) and can be valuable assets.  Often a start-up company will be bought for its IP rather than its products or sales revenues.  Here are some tips on patents. You do not ...

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Ask, ‘Who benefits most from my innovation?’

Sony and Philips developed the Compact Disc (CD) which they launched in 1982.  It was originally designed to store and play music. It offered much higher quality of recording than vinyl records.  It later became used for data storage; it held far more data than most personal computer hard drives. Mickey Schulhof had joined Sony in 1974 as an engineer.  ...

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A Lateral Idea – Turn the Shop Around

Consider for a moment the shopping experience for a housewife in the 1920s.  She would go from one small store to another – meat from the butcher’s, bread from the bakery, fish from the fish monger, cans and vegetables from the grocer’s, household items from the hardware store and so on.  At each shop she would have to wait in ...

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Manage your Innovation Pipeline exactly like your Sales Pipeline

Managing the Sales pipeline is a well-developed executive skill in any company selling large ticket items to business customers.  Each sales person has to gather data and input their reports and forecasts.  Some of the key actions in managing the pipeline include: Qualification questions have to be answered.  Does the customer need our product?  Do they have a budget?  Are ...

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Ask For it by Name – Two lessons for Innovators

During WWI there was tremendous demand for bandages and sterile dressings for Allied wounded on the Western Front.  The US company, Kimberly-Clark, developed a new cotton-like material from wood-pulp.  It was highly absorbent.  They manufactured this in large quantities to supply gas-mask filters and field dressings.  When the war ended in 1918 the company was left with large stocks of ...

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Disaster Can Open the Door for Innovation

A catastrophe produces an unexpected set of circumstances and this can lead to opportunities for innovation. In January 1992 a container with 29,000 plastic bath toys was washed overboard in the Pacific Ocean.  They were manufactured in China and were on route to the USA.  They were called Floatees, bath toys consisting of red beavers, green frogs, blue turtles and ...

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