How do you get the world to beat a path to your door? You know the answer – build a better mousetrap.
When I read this article from Coatings Tech magazine online, I thought immediately of this phrase. The “open innovation” approach discussed in this article is a new spin on what I’ve called “building a better mousetrap” in the coatings industry. The authors of the piece emphasize how much competitive advantage is gained when we look outside our own company for the best ideas for new and innovative products and applications.
Before we knew what to call this concept, we were doing it here at Induron. We draw on many sources of information – raw material suppliers, the needs and desires of our customers, new technology we’re seeing in the marketplace, our R&D staff, and of course our sales force – for new product ideas. Then we’re nimble enough to develop, test and launch a product in six to 12 months.
Less nimble companies – and I’ve worked for a few – take at least a few years to develop a product idea, pass it through internal committees, into R&D and finally to the customer. Being nimble means we can get a useful product to our customers faster, and they can start seeing the benefits of it that much sooner.
Embracing open innovation also means that we’re always looking for partnerships with complementary companies that can benefit our customers. When we find a company that has proven technology and products that complement our own product portfolio, we’re eager to partner with them. We’ve entered into one of those partnerships with ITW PolySpec/Futura. Their expertise and product line dovetails with ours to make Induron a stronger, more complete player in our core markets.
Open innovation can seem threatening to companies who are ferociously guarding their trade secrets. But we at Induron believe that by seeking out the best information and partners in our industry, all of us – our customers, our partners, and our employees – will be better served when we can deliver the right products for the right projects.