1876 + Thomas Edison + Menlo Park Laboratory = 400 patents and an innovative spirit was born. This was our first example of true technological innovation at its best, particularly recombinant innovation. In just six years, Menlo Park Laboratory procured over 400 patents. Some went so far to call Menlo Park laboratory an “invention factory”.
The Rother’s Group has attempted to follow in Edison’s footsteps by establishing our own “Menlo Programme”. The Menlo Programme is a programme aimed at finding new innovative ideas and facilitating their growth.
The programme achieves its mission in two primary ways:
1) Promoting exchange and synergies between research centres and between research centres and industries, closely collaborating with high level industry leaders and universities. The Menlo Programme enables funding of and opportunities for students and research centres that would not otherwise be available, particularly in facilities with lower amounts of capital available.
2) Funding, facilitating, and fueling independent innovative ideas from individuals or start-up companies who lack the means to move to further R&D, marketing, or production.
While focused on the aerospace industries and research initiatives, The Menlo Programme is open to supplemental industries such as nanotech, nuclear, oil and gas, and alternative energies as these will continue to impact the aerospace industry in the future. The Menlo Programme has successfully partnered with various supplemental industrial research initiatives in the past and realises the impact value these have.
The opportunities created by The Menlo Programme often result in high-tech start-ups either based on the innovative virtues of a student or as a spin-off from a national or international research initiative. The Menlo Programme will continue to support the development of this start-up by providing business development services (business plans, market studies, funding search) and professional advice. We also assist newly established companies to foster their growth and act as internal accelerator as partner/shareholder or advisor.
A Belief in Recombinant Innovation
Thomas Edison’s Menlo Park Laboratory was successful because he truly believed in recombinant innovation. There were no inventions from Menlo Park Laboratory that were truly invented from nothing – each one had some basis that was pulled from another field of technology. Edison and his team worked in many different fields in conjunction with many different companies, in addition to working on individual experiments. All of these projects enabled the team to use their knowledge of various fields to be innovative in creating new solutions for different organisations. Because knowledge of technology across differing fields was disconnected, Edison was able to exploit this and create new solutions from areas of past projects.
Henry Ford is another great inventor in history who understood the power of combining past solutions to create a new one. He is famous for the model T automobile and the assembly line, but Ford himself stated that:
“I invented nothing new. I simply assembled into a car the discoveries of other men behind whom were centuries of work….Had I worked fifty or ten or even five years before, I would have failed. So it is with every new thing. Progress happens when all the factors that make for it are ready, and then it is inevitable. To teach that a comparatively few men are responsible for the greatest forward steps of mankind is the worst sort of nonsense.”
“Forward Learning…Forward Leaning…Forward Leading”