What’s The Big Idea?

16 08 2015

I’ve recently been watching the television show “Shark Tank”. If you aren’t familiar, the show introduces entrepreneur contestants to several high-profile investors, hoping they will back their product or business.

The show is a very entertaining and compact look at how deals can get done given the right ideas and circumstances. I especially like it because of the entrepreneur’s commitment and enthusiasm for the products, and their absolute belief that it is a worthy investment.

Some of the strangest ideas in history became huge winners… like Snuggies, or the Singing Fish, or the Pet Rock. I remember years ago thinking that someone, somewhere came up with the idea for the cocktail umbrella, and probably reaped millions for the invention. Why can’t I come up with something? Anything?

During quiet moments lying in bed or on long drives, we’ve all fantasized about having that “big” idea… an invention or product that everyone wants and needs. And , of course, will make a boatload of money! For many reasons, some ideas end up being bigger than others.

1SEn6BgcThe other day I had a short conversation with Bruce Wilson. He and his wife Erin are founders of If I Need Help, a non-profit organization that provides products and services that help reunite loved ones with those who might become lost or disoriented. These are people with autism, dementia, Alzheimer’s – anyone who might have problems communicating that they are lost, or where they live. If I Need Help provides a variety of products with a QR Code that contains contact information for the person’s caregiver.

qr-code-id-keychainThe company I work for has been providing the technology they use to make the various products – name tags, patches, t-shirts, key chains, etc.  I remember when Erin first contacted us a couple of years ago, and explained the idea. Their 13-year-old son Jay has moderate to severe Autism, with limited language ability. He had gotten lost in the past, so they came up with the idea out of concern and love for him. Their “system” provided a measure of security for him and greater peace of mind for them.

QR-code-id-shoeBruce and I were talking about the business relationship, how it all started and what it has become. He said something that resonated with me… “It was just a small idea because we wanted to help our son.” But it was a tremendous idea, and one that needs to be shared to help people in similar situations. There have been so many success stories, about people who have wandered and been quickly found.

It seems that I see an item in my social and news feeds every day about a challenged person who is lost or missing. I always think about Bruce and Erin, and I wonder if the products from If I Need Help could have assisted in finding these people.

Success can be measured in many ways. I fervently hope that If I Need Help becomes a hugely successful organization, and the good stories come by the thousands.  But I doubt that the Wilsons will be millionaires, and I’m sure they are not concerned.

But when you measure the success of an idea by how much you’ve helped people, Bruce and Erin are the richest people I know.

For more information about Bruce and Erin Wilson and If I Need Help, please go to their website – IfINeedHelp.org. Read their story, make a donation, and/or spread the word!

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