Showcasing Your Bright Ideas: Good Marketing or Competitive Disadvantage?


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Brian Carroll over at the B2B Lead Generation Blog posted on whether companies should give away their ideas for free on their websites, or not. He believes strongly that ideas in the form of whitepapers, articles, outline methods, etc are a great source of future customers, partners and employees.

Having worked extensively in B2C, Professional Services and B2B, I agree wholeheartedly with him.

Competitive advantage for most companies comes through the complex delivery capabilities they develop over time; unique mixtures of business processes, information flows, work routines, relationships, plus, a sprinkling of patents and other protected marks. These are hard to understand, hard to copy and often take time to develop. Companies take great care not to share these with others, even with their best customers. Clearly, competitive advantage does not come from great ideas, but from their implementation.

The idea of the Toyota Production System (TPS) is a perfect example. TPS took over 20 years to develop inside Toyota. And it is still being evolved through continuous improvement. Although much has been written about the TPS, you have to work at Toyota for a number of years before you even start to understand how it really works. Sharing the Idea of TPS has not done Toyota any harm at all. Non of its competitors are realistically able to implement it from what they read. They would have to reinvent it themselves over a similar period of time. BMW is the one auto manufacturer who has come closes to this through developing their its unique BMW Manufacturing System.

Companies should showcase their smart thinking as often and as widely as possible. But they should keep their smart doing under tight wraps.

Think about it another way. What would the Internet be with the free exchange of ideas? Would CRMGuru even exist? I don’t think so.

What do you think? Should you share your ideas with others? Or should companies be an idea black hole?

Add your own comment and get the conversation going.

Graham Hill

Graham Hill (Dr G)
Business Troubleshooter | Questioning | Thoughtful | Industrious | Opinions my own | Connect with me on LinkedIn


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