Ever thought about what life would be like without the mobile phone? How about electricity? There is no doubt that inventions make our lives much easier and more convenient. They have also made quite a number of people really rich. Do you think you have a great invention that could change the world? Here is a low down on inventing something.

How to Invent Something


Brainstorm Ideas

The first step is to brainstorm ideas. Come up with products that sound useful and unique. Consider an area you are familiar with so that you do not come up with an idea that you cannot implement.

  • Come up with a list of things you are interested in, ranging from products related to jobs and hobbies to products you use regularly.

  • Make a list of possible improvements that can be made on your activities or items of interest. It could be variations or add-ons.

  • Let the list be as long as it can be since it is better to have too many ideas than less.

  • Keep a journal with the list of items so that you can include any new ideas that come up and can use them for future reference.

  • Give yourself time to brainstorm since the idea you are looking for may not come instantly.


Settle on an Idea

After considering all the possible ideas, you have to finally choose the best and spend some time thinking about it in detail. Ask questions about the project and make a sketch of what you expect to invent. You should ask yourself questions like: 

  • What parts are required?

  • How does it work and what will it do?

  • What is so special about your invention?

  • How can you improve this product?

  • What part of your invention is unnecessary?

  • How can you make it cheaper and more efficient?

Remember to keep all these questions and answers in your journal.


Research your Invention

Once you are confident that your invention is ready, research widely to ensure that the idea is unique. If someone has already patented your invention, then it is difficult to proceed and mass produce.

  • Search for products similar to your invention online.

  • Ensure that the name you choose for your invention is not being used already.

  • Visit stores that sell similar products to find out what they have and ask whether they can stock your product.

  • Search all inventions and patents at a Patent and Trademark Depository Library near you.

  • Have a professional patent search done just to be sure there are no other inventions similar to yours out there.


Get Feedback

Another helpful tip for “how to invent something” is to talk to your potential customers to get real feedback from a larger population. Define your potential customer, where they shop and what else they buy so that you understand where you can find them for feedback. 

Ask them questions about your invention normally avoiding the obvious questions as they may not generate helpful answers. Questions like "will you buy that kind of products" will only give answers like yes or no. Ask specific questions that will show how determined your potential customers are in finding a product to make their life more convenient. 

Feedback is important as it may save you money and time if you find out early enough that whatever you invented is not being accepted. It could also help you improve your invention to best suit your potential customers' needs. You may learn of things you have never thought of and even the smallest of alterations might have a great impact on your invention.


Make a Prototype

Are you wondering how to invent something that can sell? To achieve this, draft a plan and come up with a prototype design that can be tested, built and of course marketed. The prototype should be easy to use for a wide range of customers, but economically friendly as well. The prototype you make may be not perfect, but it should be functional and ready for testing. Run a series of tests on your model to ascertain its strength, durability and ability to solve the intended problem. Bring your friends and family on board to help test the prototype and finally create a finished model ready for the market.


Decide to Patent or Not

The story of getting a patent is common in conferences, literature, TV commercials and websites making people feel like they must patent their inventions. The truth is that only 2%-3% of patented products make it to the market. A patent will cost you $5000 or more, which only stretches your financial capability. You need to first research on the important issues and worry about the patent later – if you really have to! 

This does not mean that you do not need a patent at all. You can still file a patent, but do it later in the business after you have established your business and your product has launched. But here is the kind reminder: in the US, patents are given on a “first to file” and not a “fast to invent” basis.


Patent Your Invention

  • The first step is to have a detailed record of your invention. Record how the idea came about, how long it took and what inspired you. 

  • List all the parts of your product and the research you did on other similar products to prove that yours is unique.

  •  Create an informal drawing of your patent and document the commercial sales value of your invention. 

  •  Patent attorneys can be very expensive but they are important to help you file a patent and deal with patent infringement. They will update you on recent changes in patent law and help check whether your invention is already underway in other companies especially if it is in the technology field.

  • Though optional, you can also get a provisional patent application to show that your invention is undergoing the patenting process. It costs between $65 and $260. 

  • Finally, file for your patent.


Get Profits from Your Invention

With your patent and prototype ready, approach local manufacturers to have them produce your product. Start producing in small batches as you scale up to mass produce. 

Make a professional presentation to showcase your product to manufactures and buyers with slight differences to suit each audience. Try hiring a graphic designer to help you out, and work on your public speaking skills for the actual presentation. After everything is done, you need to advertise your invention to maximize your selling potential. Approach local stores to sell your products and create adverts as well.

Note that an invention made by an employee as they handle their normal work duties belongs to the employer. However, the employee may claim a proportion of the benefits as compensation taking into account the time and costs involved in inventing it. This will happen if the invention proves to be very salable.


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