Tuesday, June 3, 2014


OK, this blog pretty neglected, (in favour of Junkk.com mainly, and even then...).

However, this little TVC really has perked up my interest in RE:tie's potential again.


Is it possible the biggest brand in the world may be seeing the potential of second use?

Trying to get more info now.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Be first, be fast, & stay ahead of the competition

Preoccupations elsewhere have rather stalled my efforts on behalf of RE:tie, but I do maintain an ongoing interest in matters IP.


I know Trevor (if not well enough to call him that probably) a bit, and it's hard not to get caught up with his infectious enthusiasm for 'inventing.
It's also not hard to detect a certain frustration with the words vs. deeds of most of 'them' involved in the IP process... who would not exist but for the 'us' that actually create new ideas out of thin air.
On this new initiative I can only welcome what may make things easier, quicker and one hopes cheaper.
However I stumble here: 
'Under the old system patents had to be registered separately in every country, which made the process cumbersome and substantially more expensive than in the United States.'

My experience with the UK, EU and almost all other systems was pretty painless. It was only when the USPTO got their protectionist mitts on it all that the pear was crafted.

"Mr Baylis said a universal patent system should be introduced and intellectual property theft should be a criminal offence".
I might add a few more caveats to that.

For now I would be hard pressed to go near IP again, preferring to keep my money and invest it in the priorities in my title.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Questions, answers, talking... vs. doing

Once you hit 'post', there's really no point worrying about consequences.

As you'll possibly gather, I was... expressing some frustration as I put digit to keyboard on reading this article on openability from a packaging industry trade magazine.


Of course, as far as the ongoing mission to extol the virtues of RE:tie goes, it was all great. Pure vindication... of the problem it solves.

Just... I have been banging on about this for a while, make that years now.

And, frankly, a lot involved in this story have been well aware of my interests, and possible contribution.

Which is why not even knowing about this until I read it, much less not seeing some useful contributions we could make incorporated, all added to the overall sense of vex.

The medium knows all about it; I even offered to present all the findings from the market research, which includes public views on this. No response.

Of course I wrote to Hat Trick, makers of the TV show inspiring this. Nada.

AGE knows all about it. I was told, once, that when RE:tie was in the market they'd throw full support behind it. I guess that person was in another dept. or has moved on.

Certainly all the major cap manufacturers are aware, plus brand managers and retail marketing gurus.

“Companies can’t work out the return on investment from making things easier to open,”

Er... isn't that their main job?

Even some of the academics/research bodies listed are. After a previous outing on grey market potential I tried to touch base. A few responded, but again my efforts to reach out have met with silence.

Anyway, a few new names to contact and avenues to explore... baby steps.

Given how often folk seem keen to talk on this subject, such sudden retreat into closed ear territory is still hard to understand. Or is it?

“No one wants to be the first mover... It’s too much of a risk.”

This really seems a nation that has decided its role in future is to be first... at being second.

Friday, November 2, 2012


Time to reinvigorate this blog with a post.

Today I was intrigued by this tweet from the IPO:

 is taking a break and will return on 11/11. Come back then to read our blog mentioning all IP on programme http://www.ipo.gov.uk/dd2012.htm

In part, because while it is many things, I would not err on calling the programme 'all about everyday inventors, designers, creators or entrepreneurs pitching their innovative business ideas to a panel of successful investors'.

Entertaining, yes, but also a ruthlessly controlled TV programme dedicated more to making going TV than anything else. And while the guys pitching may seem 'everyday', they are also carefully selected, and not always for the awesomeness of the idea as much as how the Dragon's can savage it. Equally, I'd be hard pressed to equate the investors and their mindsets with most I have met... or would want to.

Actually this programme has already crossed my radar, and on matters IP, through what I had feared (unfounded) was a direct competitor garnering vast support and publicity: the Rapstrap. As it turns out, though similar in many ways (cable tie, eco, etc), it was actually a vastly different concept/product. In fact it was in many ways a great complement, so I wished them well. Their success could only help RE:tie.


I'll leave what I though then (and no correction/update I can find since bar this or this from 3 years ago) to a comment below the factual blurb:

'What I find interesting here is that two so called sophisticated investors were prepared to invest in a product based business without any significant due diligence on the IP front. Also a company was prepared to place an order of £36 million in ignorance!!'

By most measures, how is it possible for the country's 'top' ideas investment programme to get a brilliant idea as far as they did... only to discover there were huge potential problems on the due diligence around IP?

And how is the UK's IPO pushing a programme where such things seem, at best, an afterthought? Even if the UK aspect is resolved, the UK IPO does seem more tolerant of crossover similarities, if heading to the US market, given my experience I wish them luck.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

AWARD - World Juice 2012

Barcelona for two days and a night?

When that night is in the exotic seafront Hotel Arts, and the reason is to be present as nominee for the Best Sustainability Initiative of The World Juice Awards 2012 ?

Who wouldn't?

So I didn't. 

There was method to the madness.

First up, there is no such thing as no excuse for PR, and an award can't hurt.

But, more importantly, one gets to run shoulders (at a usual few thousand Euro per delegate conference) with the kind of folk who may yet take an interest in my little invention.

Anyway, first the less good news: I didn't win. Close, but no cigar. Runner-up only. But still creditable given the competition, and many others who were not shortlisted. 

OK, enough about me. Losers are not interesting.

However, a few of the seminars I was able to attend were. Very. And useful. So much so that at the Q&A to all I was at, the Junkk.com rep's hand was constantly up.

So let me pop in a little, highly personal, 'review' of those I managed to catch (with a few pictures too - they're taken from the audience, so not great quality):

Examining NPD within the Smoothie Category
James Ajaka - Chief Nudie - Nudie Foods Australia

Very much in the mould of Innocent here, the product(s), person and style was appealing.

They for sure have benefited from being direct and honest with their consumer audience, to the extent of creating labelling that 'tells it as it is', even admitting that their oranges were not domestic during the drought that meant local sourcing was not possible. Admirable.

Sadly I missed most of his talk by only just arriving, but had a good chat afterwards.

Embedding Sustainability into the DNA of a Packaging Company
Dagfinn Hansen - Senior Mgr, Corp Environment - Elopak Norway

As the category and conference sponsor, a good one to catch. 

Not least because these guys are in the business of packaging.

Norwegian-based, Elopak have the commitment to  sustainability for which Northern Europe, and its brands, are renowned.

'Boss' Mr. Wright was quoted as saying 'What you can measure, you can manage', so the numbers were a key aspect here. And they are prepared to place a $ value on consumer innovation.

It also seems they have thrown a lot behind this, coming up with a plan called 'Futureproof 2020'.

So, big on insiprational quotes, they have a strategy based on the nautical saying 'If you have no direction, no wind will be positive for you'.

While they were big on the '3P's' - People, Profit, Planet - they are sadly more interested in only 2 'R's': recyclability and renewability. Reuse was mentioned, but only in the context of recycling. I'll have to see if I can persuade them to 'tweak' that (in this chart caps as part of the supplier chain are an aspect over which they.... currently... have no carbon reduction control)!

Especially as the mantra was that sustainability cannot, as I have found so often elsewhere, be viewed as a side stream, being required as an integral part of the business. Indeed, they have 6 pillars allocated to corporate management, and involve all the company in driving the value chain.

They are seeking to create new heroes. Maybe I can yet interest them in acheiveing that.

How Can We Push "Brand Value" to the Consumer
Sam Waterfall - Healthy Marketing Team UK

Another interesting one. 

My first thought was that pushing is never good; much better to embrace the consumer into the brand value, lured via end benefit.

But he got me on board by empathising with all who have suffered, or are suffering from 'being ahead of their time'. I heard that!

He pushed the notion of being first vs. being better. 

Again that's a winner for RE:tie, but by being first and the best. Win-win!

However he also damped my mood somewhat by sharing that a new idea takes, on average, 7 years to work into just the first glimmers of being embraced and accepted!

He shared some interesting case histories, including a Soya one, culminating in a bottle design that contained the same old soya milk, but was premier priced because of the brand values coferred by the packaging and marketing. And popular.

Now, what about a simple redesign that has a perceived additional value to the consumer of 2p (see research thread, plus both green and grey market benefits on top? Hmnnnn?

Examining the Latest Consumer Trends for Juice & how to use them to Structure NPD
David Bird, Senior Analyst - DataMonitor

Finally, some more 'pure' research. 

This was very much viewed as 'new' vs. 'old', while I still see great potential for giving what is old, estabslsihed, but maybe tired.... a new lease of life too.

Because... 80-90% of 'new' products don't make it. Many reasons, but innovation often fails by not meeting consumer needs. But also... they can be put off by what is not familiar.

I see this as a vindication for the evolution that RE:tie represents.

He too shared some new, innovative packaing. Including a Sainsbury's juice carton that I hade never seen or heard of, but is an award winner (must try and locate it!).

I found it intriguing, because that looks like a very expensive, non-eco design (multiple components and materials), and while there is a benefit (visual measure of portions), hardly the most necessary or earth-shattering to throw weight behind.

It reminds me that Sainsbury's did try the milk pouch with some hefty A&P support, but this doesn't seem to have really caught on yet, if at all.

And on the matter of A&P, in the Q&A I aksed about the amounst needed in support of such new ideas, but David did not know as not his area. He did say he didn't think support of this nature was necessary, but I had to and still doubt that.

Still, some interesting market data on top.

With luck, some of it may yet pay dividends. But if not, I got in a bit of great sightseeing as I waited for the bus:)

Friday, June 8, 2012