How To Come Up With Ideas For Inventions Or New Products
Inventors are a unique breed.
I wouldn't lump inventors altogether into one bucket, but there are traits and characteristics that ring true across a majority of inventors and probably resonate with you as well: You're bright, reserved, thoughtful, creative, ultra curious, thorough, persistent, patient…just to name a few.
But every inventor, whether you're just embarking or you have existing patents or products in market, goes through a period where they just can’t seem to come up with that next great invention idea.
I equate this to great writers and poets who all get writer's block at some point.
During a creative blockage, every inventor asks himself or herself the question, “What should I invent?”…or “What should my next invention be?”
5 Questions To Help You Come Up With Invention Ideas
When you find yourself in this rut feeling blocked, there are a number of questions you can ask yourself to help dig out of the hole.
If you’re an experienced or established inventor, you may want to think of these questions in the context of the target market for some of your previous inventions.
For instance, if you invented and patented a baby product, try thinking about parents or grandparents.
If you invented a new appliance, what else could homeowners use to solve some of their problems?
If you’re new to inventing, think about the kinds of people you’d like to make life just a little better for.
Always remember that the premise for any new invention or product is that it solves a problem.
Everyone has problems, regardless of demographics...which leads me right to the first question to ask yourself:
1. Who Should I Invent Something For?
As stated above, everyone has problems.
We have them at all scales, sometimes frequent, sometimes intermittent, sometimes a one-off...you get it.
So when you can't come up with an idea for a new product, realize that it might be because you aren't focused enough on who you might want to solve a problem for.
In answering this question, you should identify down to the demographic level, if at all possible, whose problem you want to solve.
Doing this allows you, when you finally have your invention or product idea, to research your target market faster.
So do you want to solve the problem your sister has of cat hair all over her couches?
Or your mother, who has no clue how to respond to a text message still?
Maybe you just can't figure out why no one has invented a way to sidestep the gaming console and make every game available online via a universal controller. (Seriously, gamers have problems too and this could make gaming affordable)
2. What are some of the things I use in my daily life that seem to be outdated or that really haven’t changed or been updated in a long time?
Often times invention ideas stem from everyday products we already use.
Go through your day-to-day routine slowly and thoughtfully; try to think about things like your bathroom products, your car, the mail and postal system – anything you interact with.
Remember also that not every patent is for something that didn't exist previously.
Many patents pushed through every year are improvement patents, so as you're thinking about what's missing, try to also consider what can be made better, or more efficient.
Here is an except I found posted on Quora and thought that it was a great example of how to do this:
3. Am I reading as much as I always did, and is what I'm reading stirring the creative juices?
Reading helps expand the mind; it’s a fact.
It doesn’t matter if you’re reading “MIT Technology Review”, “Consumer Reports” or simply a novel from your favorite author.
The goal is to make sure you are continually opening your mind to new ideas and information that could spark your next invention idea.
The question is really not what are you reading, but are you allowing the content to make you think?
4. Am I leveraging the right digital tools to keep myself in the inventor mindset?
There are loads of inventor forums and free websites out there where people post, comment, review, and discuss inventions.
Have you checked out Quora? Twitter? Reddit? This site?? :)
If you are feeling blocked from creativity, jump into a forum or start reading what other inventors are writing online to jumpstart the brain again and get back on track!
5. Have I evaluated the things in life that most interest me lately?
You’re an inventor and that’s both a hobby and a lifestyle.
But what else are you interested in?
Building models (which can always lead to great prototypes for your invention idea later!)?
Think about your hobbies and interests and see if you come up with something you can improve. You’re already a (self-proclaimed) expert in the subject, right?
Answering the five questions above can lead to a true self-inventory.
You’ll better understand not only what you might have for your next invention idea, but why your creativity may have been stifled.
Don't stop here, more info below...you can answer these questions in a few minutes.
New Product & Invention Ideas Come To People Who Think Like Inventors
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