Mike Collins is going to make your life easier, because knows what it means to be frustrated – frustrated that you’re having difficulty getting in the front door, frustrated that your idea isn’t being taken seriously. But instead of giving up or giving in to the pressure-riddled environment all inventors face, he decided to create a company that would change the game in his, and our, favor. He founded BIG, the Big Idea Group.
What is BIG?
“BIG specializes in open source research, innovation, and marketing. We work with companies who have a special need or desire; we get them to really specifically describe their innovation challenge, and post that ten to twenty page brief to the public. Inventors and creative problem solvers can then submit their ideas in response,” Mike describes.
The beauty of the process, he explains, is that the companies are already looking for ideas. They have a specific challenge they need addressed. An inventor is no longer trying to “push” himself into a company – instead, companies are able to “pull” from BIG’s network of thousands of creative people.
Mike credits companies increasing recognition of the important of innovation as the reason for BIG’s success and corporation’s new willingness to accept ideas from non-employees, a concept deemed “open innovation”.
“So much of manufacturing has been outsourced to developing economies, retail is so efficient –innovation is the last field in which corporations may gain competitive edge. Corporations have finally started to admit that for all the research and development employees they have on staff, there are thousands of other people beyond their walls that have an equal or greater amount of talent and training. 90,000 people working on a problem instead of 900 will inherently breed better solutions, and give them an advantage.”
The acceptance of open innovation may be slow, but it’s definitely happening.
Does BIG require certain qualifications of those who submit ideas? Do all their inventors have a similar profile?
The short answer is no.
“Our inventors are varied and diverse. Many have day jobs and are well-rounded people – not antisocial and technical, as is the common misperception. The quality they share is the way they look at the world. It’s an opportunity, and problems are merely chances to solve something, make the world a better place. They are aware of their environment. They are consumers and frustrated users who really think about solving a problem.”
You too can submit to BIG. Mike assures that “anyone, anywhere can.” The BIG website lists the briefs that are currently available for submission. All paperwork and further information may be readily downloaded. And finished prototypes aren’t required.
“The most important thing is that you’ve done your homework, you’ve fully read and understand the material and customized your presentation towards the desires of the client. Other than that, if your product has a sincere benefit, it’ll shine through. Visuals always help.”
Don’t miss Friday’s blog. We will discuss Mike’s new book “The Million Dollar Idea in Everyone.”