What is the BIG idea?
Michael Collins founded Big Idea Group with the purpose of turning ideas into reality. This is because the company would provide resources, experience, and access significant in the development of the idea. He established the firm to enhance an intermediary between inventors and buyers of ideas. These interactions enabled him to network with them and earned money from the activity. Collins believed that the process of taking ideas as a resource and transforming them into worthwhile products was beneficial in the child’s industry and other sectors. He had several questions concerning the success of his company. He wondered whether the process was efficient because of his abilities or other factors such as the right people to extend BIG into other industries. This could enable his firm to be successful and profitable. This is because he believed that the innovation could be a business opportunity. This study discusses, therefore, the origin of BIG Group, its founder, a review of kids’ industry, and the procedures of developing implementing successful ideas.
Michael Collins’s Background
Collins graduated from Dartmouth College with an engineering degree in 1986. He worked for TA Associates for four years and later joined Harvard Business School. It was while at the institution that he learnt about the Pleasant Company where he was hired. One year later, he made Kid Galaxy and discovered the Bendos after two and half years. The latter became successful which gave him the idea to consider combining the kid’s industry with the venture capital process to create a better way of managing innovation.
The Kids’ Industry Overview
Kids’ industry is composed of clothing, accessories, and toys segments. The approximate retail sales of toys as estimated by BIG Group in 2000 were $30 billion. The retailers included large companies such as Wal-Mart, Toys ‘R’ and Target, and smaller gift stores. They obtained their merchandise from distributors for example, Hasbro, Mattel, Kid Galaxy, and Basic Fun. Video games had the largest purchase of $6 billion together with fashion dolls, plush toys, and skating accessories. The future for kids’ toys was uncertain, however, because children changed into other activities such as sports and music. This led to the development of niche and personalization markets that were difficult for retailers who were dependent on mass-market promotions. Key toy manufacturers experienced inadequate innovations and had decreased industry growth.
Foundation of BIG
Michael Collins created BIG Group in July 2000 to help solve the business growth problems that arose due to lack of innovation. The objective was to tap the implausible entrepreneurial power of mass of individual inventors. The model set up resembled the venture capital business than a typical company because it is of deal flow. The basic philosophy for the formulation process was that sources of ideas were established from different places such as product development departments and various individuals.
The BIG group advanced four stages termed as innovative engines. Generating idea flow was the first stage that had six sources that were interconnected and formed a network of inventors and proposal flows. They included Hunts, which acted as a ‘kind of Antiques Road show for kid’s products.’ This is because it attracted a huge group of people in its events. Its aim also was to meet with inventors and treat them as professionals. Outsourced Flow was another source of ideas for the group because major toy companies contained unsolicited idea submissions that were separated into neither good nor bad. A network of professional inventors was build to work with BIG on new kids concepts. They helped in evaluating and adding information to other inventors’ prepositions. Industry outreach used to improve approach flow through creation of awareness. This was facilitated by use of publications such as the Web newsletter, The BIG Scoop. Orphaned Products were commodities without market demand, development, and promotion. They were put into the process to determine whether they could stay competitive.
Winnowing of highest possible ideas was the second stage. This involved having a meeting with the inventor and filling out an evaluation form. The panel would then discuss and create a successful list of concepts. Collins used the help of professional inventors, designers, consultants, and in-house staff in the decision-making process. Refinement consisted the BIG Group working together with the inventor in forming competitive and attractive concepts to kid’s companies. This takes a period of three to six months and involves competitive research, repositioning, design, engineering, field-testing, trademark, and costing. Capturing value is the fourth step whereby the group approaches manufacturers, retailers, and entrepreneurs that would buy the idea. The company targets different firms depending on the concept or product idea. The licensed deal consisted of terms such as an advance, royalty, and a guarantee.
The Tiny Totes Business
This is an example of an entity in which, the ideas of Susan Kern. The BIG group with the three inventors refined the concept, performed preliminary costing, and created a list of potential buyers.
BIG had raised $850,000 in September 2011 from angel investors and since it does not require major investments and expenses hence makes huge profits. Statistics provides that the company is still growing in the kid’s industry. They have also decided to look for a sponsor from Home and Garden companies. The BIG process of transferring the home and garden unit is possible since it creates a sustainable business with potent barriers to entry.
A year has elapsed since BIG was created and managed by Collins and d’Arbeloff. They are excited because there are many successful business opportunities. D’ Arbeloff compared it to the previous business plan that was unsuccessful. They believe that it is a profitable way to handle the innovation process.