So, a little light bulb inside you head has lit up and you are struck with the idea that you invented something. You are not sure yet how practical your idea is at this time, but something
tells you that this might be the Big break you were looking for. What you do next and how you approach your next steps is extremely important and will either lead you on to glory or will
doom your undertaking. The steps that I will outline a little later might seem unnecessary; however I want to assure you that in the end you will be happy that you
took my advice.
Before we proceed with the discussion, I would like to offer a few words of wisdom. While working on your idea you will encounter people who will criticize your work and try to discourage you
from forging ahead. Some of the criticism will be deserved and should be taken into account. If you see that a valid point is raised that you never thought of before –
the better off you are. It gives you opportunity to pause and view your idea from another perspective (or angle). However, you may also encounter a so-called destructive criticism that is not based on any facts.
When you learn how to separate these two, you will be better of. My advice to you – new invention ideas
– Don’t be afraid to question professionals, because most experts are one-track minded and oblivious to other things
– Don’t be afraid to challenge other people’s ideas, stand by your principles and be firm
– Don’t be afraid to discover that your own idea is faulty. Pause, make corrections, re-analyze and move ahead
When you are ready to market your idea, you will have to deal with large corporations. Keep in mind that the bigger the company is, the more bureaucratic it is. Many big companies lose focus and often hire employees who are either not qualified for the job, or just not interested in what they are doing. If you come across these folks who are trying to make you feel insignificant (and your idea unimportant and impractical) don’t get discouraged by this – chances are you will be better off dealing with smaller company that is more focused and willing to take risks!
Step 1 – Stay Focused and Clearly Document Your Idea idea for invention
This step has huge benefits, because –
1. You will clearly define your idea/invention
2. While documenting your idea, you may find ways on how to expand your invention
Always try to put on paper what it is that you invented – precisely define your idea, its purpose, limitations and target audience. If you cannot precisely define your idea, then this means that you should take a step back, re-analyze your thinking and simplify things. The most common error that people make at this stage is over-complicating their idea. A quick example will clarify this point:
Case Study 1
John K. has an idea on how to improve Automatic Knife Mechanism. While laboring hard on his invention, John K. produces technical drawings and decides that his future product will benefit from the addition of extra items – a scissor and a screw driver. However, the addition of these items makes the final product larger and heavier. In order to make knife lighter, John K. goes back to the drawing board – he compromises his original, Automatic Push/Pull mechanism design in attempt to accommodate unnecessary extra features that have nothing to do with his unique design. By taking away features from his original design, John K. makes his final design very pedestrian and it lacks in originality.
In the final analysis, John K. should have stopped right before making any changes to his original Automatic Knife Mechanism and asked himself the following – am I better off with the original mechanism or with pedestrian mechanism which has extra features? Are the extra features even necessary?
The above example clearly illustrates the following – focus on your original idea and ignore additional, superfluous features that might muddle your vision. Extra features will come into play later, once you clearly described and shaped your invention.
Step 2 Exploratory Stages – Determine if your idea is unique
Once you’ve documented your idea, you should start thinking about the following – how unique is my idea? In order to answer these questions, you will have to do some legwork and hit your local library and internet. Unless you allocated a large amount of your budget to Patent Lawyers, who will do the research for you, you will be better off doing initial research by yourself. Why? Because you may discover during your exploratory searches that your design is not unique and save yourself from paying Big Lawyer fees. A note of caution – don’t get discouraged if you determine that the idea similar to yours already exists and already patented. The fact that someone came to the similar conclusions as you, just a little bit earlier is good – you have a competition! Competition is good, competition is healthy! Carefully examine competing product, even take it apart, if necessary. Determine what differentiates your idea from competitor’s, its limitations and how successful was another person (or a company) with marketing it. As you can see, you can actually learn from mistakes of others, avoid their mistakes and forge ahead fully aware of competition and their limitations.
Step 3 – Product Safety Considerations
Whether you decided to produce a baby product or some type of household appliance, a special care should be taken in describing potential hazards associated with the use of your product. For example, if you invented a new toy designed for small children, try to come up with the list of parts that can potentially harm your little customers. Keep in mind that many people, unfortunately, disregard exploitation manuals. Determine what can or may go wrong with the operation of your product and determine ways on how to improve product safety. The questions that you may ask yourself are the following –
1. Am I using proper materials?
2. Maybe the part that contains the most hazards should be redesigned?
Try to come up with a thorough list of parts that can be potentially hazardous and fix your design before you start marketing your product. You may think of this step as unnecessary, but let me warn you – most marketing companies will require you to describe all Safety features of your idea, and you might save yourself some time by doing preparations ahead of time.
Step 4 – Demographics and Determining who will Use Your Product
Ones you have a clear picture of your product and you worked out all nuances of product design, try to determine who will use your product, when and where. Try to ask yourself the following questions –
1. What is the age bracket of target audience?
2. Is my product designed for Men, Women, or Both?
3. Where and when can it be used?
Correctly answering these questions will help you properly market your product and stay abreast of the competition. In addition, knowing answers to the above mentioned questions will help you in putting finishing touches on your product. How? If your product is designed for children, then it should be bright and colorful. In addition, if your product is designed for cold climate, you should avoid marketing it in areas where it’s hot all year long.