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Why does McDonald’s refuse to consider customer product suggestions and ideas

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Several years ago while vacationing in California a visit to a McDonald’s revealed an innovative treat. Their famous apple pie was cut in half, placed in a dish and had a swirl of their delicious frozen yogurt in the center. Billed as apple pie al a mode was immediately a favorite of our children.

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Today we know two things about this product: first, the test market was probably unsuccessful as we have never seen it in Michigan’s McDonald’s in second, it was not an idea suggested by a customer.

McDonald’s maintains a policy that they will not entertain unsolicited ideas from anybody other than corporate employees, franchise owners or direct suppliers. The reason stems to responsibility. If McDonald’s were to consider an idea came from an unsolicited source they would open themselves to countless potential lawsuits every time they rolled out a new product.

Why?

The business that takes ideas from customers or employees outside of a normal suggestion system can be accused of stealing the idea if the first person to suggest it is not compensated. In the case of McDonald’s so many suggestions are made it is possible to keep track of them were to determine if the idea is something the company is already working on.

Any company needs to consider how they are going to solicit ideas from outside the marketing and/or product development team. Formal guidelines must be strictly adhered to in order to protect the company from intellectual theft lawsuits.

©2014 Max Impact, used with permission.

Business resources:

Small Business Administration in Detroit.

Detroit chapter of SCORE, pro bono business advisors.

Max Impact offers free business strategy and leadership development materials.

Life’s Leadership Lessons”: 53 anecdotal leadership lessons, most from people in the Detroit area.

Books about developing your business.

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