DEARBORN – When TechShop opened in Detroit a year ago it was intended to foster additional innovation, and now it has contributed to a 50 percent increase in patentable ideas by Ford employees.
Last spring Ford helped bring TechShop to Detroit with assistance from Bill Coughlin, CEO of Ford Global Technologies, a wholly owned subsidiary of Ford Motor Company. Leading the domestic auto industry’s only intellectual property team with a licensing arm, Coughlin articulates this vision to help drive innovation at Ford and beyond.
“There was a time not so long ago in this business where outside ideas were not readily considered,” he says. “Since TechShop memberships were added to help enhance Ford’s invention incentive program, invention disclosures have increased by more than 50 percent.”
The Employee Patent Incentive Program provides Ford employee inventors with a three-month free membership to TechShop Detroit
. Approximately 2,000 Ford employees have incentive memberships.
Ford has a portfolio of more than 17,000 issued and pending patents around the world, and – as a technology company – needs to be at the very forefront of automotive innovation. With TechShop in close proximity, Ford’s employees in Dearborn are able to easily and quickly build prototypes for almost any inventive solution they can conceive.
TechShop Detroit is a center for innovation – a vibrant playground for inventors, hackers and tinkerers of all stripes.
“We’re thrilled TechShop is helping to inspire new inventions and ideas from the employees at Ford, at such a strong pace,” says Mark Hatch, CEO of TechShop. “A full year of success in our partnership with Ford confirms our ability to deliver on our mission of helping makers and entrepreneurs of all ages build their dreams and explore new ideas.
“Over the last year, TechShop Detroit’s vibrant and talented community of makers have shown their innovative spirit and entrepreneurial drive, and we can’t wait to see the creative and exciting things to come,” he adds.
From laser cutters to computer-aided-design workstations to 3D printers, TechShop is outfitted with tools that Henry Ford couldn’t even imagine when he built his first cars more than a century ago. While much of this equipment is still well beyond the means of most tinkerers, memberships starting at $99 per month enable everyone access to the tools of innovation.
TechShop Detroit is located in Fairlane Business Park, a Ford Land-owned property in Allen Park, Mich. There are five other TechShops around the United States, with an additional three planned in the future.