The worst enemy of independent inventors?
THE NIH SYNDROME
(Based on a letter from A. Auerbach to “INVENTORS DIGEST” magazine)
The “Not invented Here Syndrome” may be one of the many obstacles of independent inventors but I am sure it is probably the worst enemy of industry, Have they not realized that to survive in bad times they need innovation to compete? And in good times don’t they need innovation to take advantage and make a profit?
What are the causes of this deadly (for companies of course) decease?
Pride We do not need any inventions from outsiders, besides am I going to get a raise or recognition?... From using some one else’s idea? (the stock holders do not need to know I rejected this), of course they are forgetting that we are in the "Internet era". Stockholders will know and will kick some “assets” sooner or later (I am so glad that I will publish this on my own website and I can write without censure or limit to any certain number of characters).
Jealousy In most companies the employees have signed a contract giving the company title to whatever they invented while working there (I used to work for G.E. and I had to sign a contract like this), these people tend to resent outsiders who could make money while they don’t have anything to gain but another project more to work on, on top of their regular work load.
Self-preservation Employees that recommend an Idea that flops risk the guillotine, on the other hand if it succeeds they may be asked: Why didn’t you think of this first? Or you are in the product development department, don’t you even monitor the internet or at least the USPTO?
My recommendation to industry (Yeah sure they are going to pay a lot of attention):
Try to do something like P&G is pretending to do (accepting ideas from outsiders) but do it seriously, not just like a public relations campaign, appoint somebody or a committee to review ideas that reports directly to the board or whomever is really responsible for the bottom line (the owner if possible for small companies), not to people that see independent inventors as enemies.
Do not let the NIH SYNDROME affect your company, there is no vaccine yet, a vaccine against Pride, Jealousy and self-preservation is not possible, provide a way to bypass those hard working guys after all they are only human beings, who is immune to those three above in bold? I can tell you for sure I am not.
They can be Proud of working for a successful company, that provides for them and their families.
I won’t discuss Jealousy, it is simply ugly (it does not lead to any creativity or anything positive)
The instinct of self-preservation needs to be channeled in job security which is possible only in profitable businesses. Companies need to learn to be tolerant of failure, you need to experiment a lot to succeed, creativity needs to be stimulated inside the company, at all levels AND PROPERLY REWARDED, but why waste outside creativity?
Juan J. Ramirez