The problem of copying and product imitation has pervaded businesses from practically the beginning of time. The age-old debate about the nature of innovation has significant importance in the world of business. Patents were originally designed to help companies protect their intellectual property from competitors to ensure that innovation was rewarded not stolen. However, many have argued that products are never completely original and all creativity comes from some other idea. Albert Einstein said it best himself with the famous quote, “The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.” So what does this patent and creativity debate mean for businesses, and perhaps more importantly for global competitiveness?
globalEDGE Blog - By Tag: product-design
In the last few days, news of yet another product recall was released. Abbott Labs, a global pharmaceutical company, informed customers that one of their baby formulas called Similac was contaminated with small beetles. This time, the damage is limited and the worst of the symptoms is a sick tummy. In other recall cases, there are serious consequences for errors in judgment on the part of the manufacturer. Case in point: Toyota. Product recalls are on the rise – Why? In the flurry of new quality management techniques such as “six sigma”, what is causing companies to miss the mark and release potentially dangerous products to the unsuspecting public?
For those of you not familiar with the concept of "heirloom sustainability," the basic idea is that producers should design quality, durable goods, that will last a long time and be passed down for generations. The approach is - in theory - a good way to reduce waste and eliminate the cheap products that end up in landfills.
For example, instead of buying hundreds of plastic pens, you could buy one quality pen and even be able to pass it down to your children. Of course, you'd have to make a big investment up front, but if you keep it for long enough, it would eventually - in theory - pay for itself.