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NOT INVENTED HERE COMPLEX

Posted by Tim Bryce on April 17, 2015

BRYCE ON BUSINESS

– Where pompous egos incur considerable expense and wastes a lot of time.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

A phenomenon I have run across on more than one occasion in my travels through the corporate world is what is commonly referred to as the “Not Invented Here” complex or simply “N.I.H.” I have encountered it in North America, Asia, Europe, and a little bit down-under in Australia. Basically, N.I.H. is a situation where an idea or invention is rebuffed simply because someone outside of the company thought of it first. The idea may be perfectly sound, but if it wasn’t invented internally, it is considered illegitimate.

The premise that something invented externally cannot be any good is a rather myopic and pigheaded point-of-view involving some rather large egos. Not surprising, larger companies are more inclined to adopt such an attitude as opposed to smaller ones. I don’t want to drop any corporate names here, but I have seen some rather large Fortune 500 companies say something to the effect, “Well, we’re the XYZ Company, the world’s largest manufacturer of widgets, and you’re just a small nobody; what makes you think you’re so smart?” Even after you carefully explain your idea and refute all of their objections, they still refuse to admit defeat. It is at this point when their superiority complex turns into a jealous rage. Now irritated, they reject the idea or invention and, instead, become hell-bent on reinventing it themselves. The only problem here is they have difficulty reproducing your invention and inevitably result in paying a lot more than you did. In other words, the people who believe in N.I.H. are the same people incurring exorbitant research and development costs. In all likelihood, they have as much of a chance of producing a better design of your invention, than you do of producing their widgets.

I find it interesting when pride clouds people’s minds in this regard. As for me, if someone has built a better mousetrap, I would much rather buy it than try to reinvent it myself at considerable expense. Basically, I want to just get on with the job.

Years ago we made a presentation to a large electronics company in California regarding our systems design methodology. The company politely listened to our pitch but afterwards made it clear they thought they could produce a better methodology themselves. After several months and a couple of million dollars trying to reinvent our wheel, they swallowed their pride and purchased our product. Costs had finally overtaken egos.

Plain and simply, N.I.H. is inflationary and a horrible price to pay for a pompous ego. I don’t care how big your company is, a good idea is a good idea, regardless of who invented it. Take the ego off the table and get the job done. I do not understand the compulsion by some people to reinvent the wheel.

Originally Published: 02/15/2010

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:  timbryce.com

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Copyright © 2015 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  BUSINESS WRITING – A crash course on writing for people in a business setting.

LAST TIME:  WARNING TO BLOGGERS: BEWARE OF YOUR COPYRIGHTS  – Before you start blogging, protect yourself.

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3 Responses to “NOT INVENTED HERE COMPLEX”

  1. In the mid ’60’s I was in a band with a lawyer and a fellow who seemed to be a natural inventor. The inventor came up with an idea and the lawyer did up a contract for him to take this idea to a manufacturer of matches in Eastern Canada. He procured a meeting with the powers that be and told them they could put $25,000 (a lot of money in the mid ’60’s) in trust and once that was done he would give them the idea… if they used it… the lawyer paid my friend the trust funds… if they didn’t use it the money would be released back to them in a couple of years. Well by golly he got the $25,000 within a couple of weeks… what was the idea? Leave the “sandpaper” off one side of the matchbox or match pack… they saved hundred’s of thousands or dollars with this idea out of nowhere. I think you are 100% right Tim but sometimes it’s the ego of the idea man or inventor that gets in the way of getting it done AND making or saving money! Egos kill lots of great things.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. sirchristiantheheck@reagan.com said

    It’s about time someone said that. Thank God it was YOU. THANKS !!!

    Like

  3. […] NOT INVENTED HERE COMPLEX […]

    Like

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