INVENTION START: WHERE IS THAT?
Okay. We have a page on this site that starts out saying “So You Have An Invention - So What?”
So -- what - if you don’t have any inventive ideas - but would really like to? In other words - how does the invention start?
First - let’s look at the definition of the word invent:
Invent = create or design (something that has not existed before); be the originator of : as in - he invented an improved form of the steam engine; or, modernly, she came up with a new form of computer chip.
Invention means thinking outside the box - a new way of thinking or processing or making something new - which a lot of times creates a new process in the public collective mind of - “why didn’t I think of that?”
The inventor does think of “that,” “this,” “them,” “those,” “how, what, when, where and why,” and in a different way from everyone else to come up with an invention.
Now, as I have said before, the invention start can get kind of spooky too. It is like these ideas are really just floating out there in the ethers and one mind (sometimes two or more) just kind of glob onto the idea like a dreamcatcher and develops that idea into an invention.
The reason I say that is through the experience of more than once having an inventor come to me with an idea that sounds truly original - only to do a search and find that the same idea was “pulled out of the ethers” at the same time by someone else - even from somewhere across the world. I’m talking down to the same date and time in some instances. It becomes truly strange ....
Back to the process. In a simple way it is taking a problem and then solving it in a new way. A good portion of patents and inventions are the result of one person having an uncomfortable experience, and thinking to himself “there must be another way” - and then finding it.
An inventor questions - everything ...
Could this be done in a new way? ...
Is that the best way? ...
Is there a better way? ...
SO ... if you want to invent something - tune in to your own universe. Find something that you would like to see improved upon. Listen to other people and their needs. Keep lists. Look at processes in your home life and work life that raise problems. Write them down.
When you have a few problems written down - cogitate. Think.
Moving to the surreal again - when I personally have some problem to solve - I just sit and think about it - like writing - it’s the same process. You stare at a blank piece of paper and nothing happens. No words appear - no thoughts. Then - I tell my sub-conscious to solve the problem, set a deadline, and move away from it for awhile.
your sub-conscious will continue to work on the problem and if there is a solution - you have a great shot at finding it. I do that a lot. I think ... I’m blank ... I say to myself “get it done” and take a walk. Sometimes I can’t get back fast enough to capture all the ideas that flow forth.
Testing your idea is another step. The idea may be good - but needs to be worked out. The inventor is eternally optimistic. Failure is not a word. Paraphrasing Thomas Edison when he worked -- and worked -- and worked on the light bulb -- I didn’t fail, I just found 9,999 ways a light bulb doesn’t work.
Now, some inventors invent for the purpose of inventing. I have had people who go for and get a patent and are proud as punch to have the patent papers framed and hung on their wall. Others do not want to share their “baby” with the world and put up all kinds of walls to stop the development of the idea.
What I am saying here is be practical. If you want to invent - invent things that are needed and can sell. Even better if “your baby” is wanted as well as needed. And another consideration is the ability to produce your invention at a reasonable price.
An example of this is the page on this site that talks about the SkyCar. It is a great idea - truly innovative - needed in a lot of ways - and wanted by many. But the original cost of one unit will be $3.5 million. Mr. Moller has been working on this concept “car” for over twenty years. It started out more like a flying saucer.
It is unfortunate - but if his idea was a new can opener - it may have “gotten off the ground” much sooner.
Here are some resources to help with the creative thinking and invention process: