Wednesday, August 1, 2007

The High Cost of Innovation And Not Adopting It

George Christopoulos had heard of a little girl from Ontario falling out of an eighth floor window to her death. This was all the inspiration he needed to invent the WindowGate. George owned a window repair business so he knew this domain. He designed it to fit over most apartment building windows. It lets you open the window to let air in on hot days, but it doesn’t let children out. He worked on it in his garage for a long time. That was almost eight years ago.

Christopoulos was selling WindowGates in a safety store until he learned he would be liable if a child fell from a window equipped with the device. After making inquiries he discovered the insurance to protect him would cost close to $24,000 a year. He already had spent a good chunk of his savings on creating the gate and wasn't prepared to bankrupt himself for his invention. "I'm so disappointed. There are more and more children every year that shouldn't fall," said the 70-year-old.

Although we seem to cherish stories of amateur innovators as a culture, we really need to get more of it into corporate culture. Especially with the ideas that may flourish could save the lives of kids. Shouldn’t the companies that own apartment buildings or window manufacturers be better suited to have come up with this and to get it deployed?

Anybody want to buy his patent? He is selling it.

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