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Davison’s Motto Gives New Meaning to “Innovated in America”
Pittsburgh, PA – George Davison is a man with a mission. “A Better Way to Invent” is his motto, and he challenges anyone with a new idea to act on it. In the tradition of Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and Walt Disney, his role models, Davison has built his company to promote creativity and innovation.
The talent at Davison’s enterprise-there are 250 employees-focuses their attention on three areas-working with individuals who approach Davison with their own inventions; inventing new products directly for corporate clients; and inventing new products for Davison to license to other corporations.
“In this country, we believe in new frontiers. Entrepreneurialism is nourished and fostered,” Davison says from his office in Inventionland, his larger-than-life innovation hub based just outside of Pittsburgh, PA.
When Davison started out inventing, though, he had no one to turn to for guidance about how to shepherd his products to the marketplace. Now, he shows clients how their products can “fit” in the new reality of big-box stores, e-commerce and licensing deals. “It’s a better way to invent products,” Davison says. His exclusive 9-Step Method of Inventing revises outdated notions of inventing and helps inventors get their products from sketch to prototype and in front of potential manufacturers.
Davison spotlights his best-selling products across several categories, most of which are consumer goods. Number one on his all-time bestseller list are Twister Bolts and Caps, with over 2 million sold. The Twister Bolt, an odd little device, nonetheless works for homeowners and plumbers who want to keep the protective caps on the base of a toilet from popping off.
“Anyone who has ever cleaned a toilet knows that the standard caps on the base are buggers,” Davison says. The idea started with a husband-and-wife team who’d been stymied elsewhere as they tried to get the caps designed and distributed. Davison says, “The success of the Twister Bolts and Caps is a testament to inventing as a problem-solving venture.”
He points to the Meatball Baker as an example, a bestseller sold in dozens of Web sites and stores and conceived by an individual inventor, Jean Rindfuss. It’s an ingenious device that allows the home cook to bake meatballs. For those who can’t eat fried food, or don’t like fried food, this pan solves a dinnertime dilemma: how to gussy up your spaghetti sauce with some protein that hasn’t been fried or sautéed.
Colorado-based Joy Clymer envisioned the wildly successful Party Traveler, also licensed under the name Party on the Go for QVC. Frustrated by trying to bring deviled eggs to a picnic, Clymer conceived of the idea for the covered platter that holds a tray with egg-shaped cutouts. Davison’s designers ran with the idea, and the final product includes a universal base, egg tray, cupcake or muffin tray, pie/cookie/cake tray, vegetable or chips tray and a transparent locking lid. When not in use, the trays all fit snugly inside for easy, compact storage.
For corporate clients, Davison creates individual products as well as lines of products. For instance, the Healthy Steps line of kitchenware was conceived in collaboration with the Jokari Corporation. Besides the Healthy Steps Portion Control Serving Set, a popular set of serving spoons that are pre-measured for vegetables, meat and pasta, other Healthy Steps products include the Avocado Pro, Butter Pro, Cheese Grater, Produce Saver and many more.
Davison counts among its other corporate clients Xtraordinary Home Products – XHP (a division of Focus Products Group) for housewares; Hugs Pet Products; Health Enterprises for consumer healthcare and spa products; and Darice for craft supplies.
On its own, Davison dreams up new ideas for potential licensing deals with other corporations. One such bestselling Davison-designed product is TRU-ICE, which provides leak-proof ice therapy in just a few minutes, much faster than a real ice bag. The licensed product sells in more than 80 retail and online venues, including drugstore chains and medical supply stores nationwide.
Since founding the company in 1989, Davison has honed his methodology using the 9-Step Method, and the company currently boasts more than 140 finished prototypes each month.
Another part of the Davison success story is packaging considerations, which weigh heavily in corporate new-product presentations.
“Packaging, particularly with the big-box stores, is of necessity as much a factor in a product’s design as the design itself,” Davison says. “Efficiency in design, efficiency in packaging and efficiency in production are all what allow inexpensive consumer goods to come to market.”
Davison-designed products have been sold in more than 1,300 unique online retailers and brick-and-mortar stores including Bed Bath & Beyond, Lowes, Sears, Amazon.com, Solutions, Gracious Home, Avon, SkyMall, A. C. Moore, QVC, Target and Walmart, to name just a few.
“There is an insatiable market out there for new products,” Davison says with a smile. “I say, ‘Bring it on. Dare to invent, and we’ll help you do it better.”
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