In mid-April Henkel, producer of such consumer brands as Dial, Duck tape and Loctite, wraps up a global competition in search of new ideas and new products. The target audience for the competition: independent inventors and entrepreneurial companies.
They are a "very creative pool who are sometimes overlooked because big companies tend to work with big companies," explains Debra Park, director of the technology acquisition group for Henkel of America Inc. and the driver of the Henkel Innovation Trophy competition. "Henkel is open to these ideas."
Contestants vie for cash prizes for the best ideas (that fit Henkel's product portfolio) as well as the possibility of entering into an agreement with Henkel regarding commercialization of the associated proprietary rights.
In addition to opening a new vein to product ideas, a competition aimed at inventors provides Henkel with an additional upside: Many times inventors already have gone through many iterations of their product, potentially boosting speed to market of the product, Park notes.