How to Start Your Invention Idea Right Now?
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06 December 2018
When you come up with an amazing invention idea you want to get started right away. The invention idea is fresh in your mind, the problem you are trying to solve is relevant and your motivated to bring the idea to life. But it’s hard to know exactly the best way to get started. It can feel like you don’t have the knowledge or resources to start it yourself. I’m here to say that’s not true! So how can you start your invention idea right now?
Need help getting a new invention idea? Read: How do you get invention ideas?
All you need to start your invention idea is a pen, paper and phone. At this early stage you have to think hard about the problem, come up with a solution and validate the idea. Once this is completed you can move towards making a prototype but it is easier and quicker to think about the idea before jumping ahead to that stage. The steps to take to get your invention idea started right now are shown below.
Competitor Research (Google it!)
You need to check that your invention idea is not patented. It’s OK if the idea isn’t completely unique but it is important to make sure there isn’t a large competitor that will be hard to challenge. Do a google search to try and find as many potential competitors as possible. Search for a wide range. Even ones that aren’t a similar product but they solve the same problem. Comparing your invention idea with competitors is a great way to improve your design. Using these competitors, work out what makes your product unique. This helps to find your unique selling point and the area to focus on. When searching for competitors make notes on the type of customers they are aiming for and already have.
Tips for finding and analysing competitors:
- Find competitors that solve the same problem not just have a similar product.
- Relate everything back to the customers, how and why do they use this current product?
- Use forums and review sites to find customers opinions on the product. Amazon is great for finding reviews. Read the 1 star and 5 star reviews to quickly find out what people like and dislike.
- Bring together your findings and analyse the key components for each competitor. Use this to find your unique selling point.
Sketching is a very fast way to understand and communicate your design. Plus it’s completely free. The quality of the sketch doesn’t have to be high as long as you learn from it. I regularly have ideas in my head and it isn’t until I sketch it that it starts to come together. The sketch can focus on three different areas, the looks (aesthetics), how it works (functionality) or how it’s used (use case scenario). Pick the focus areas that are most suitable to your product, all three will be suitable for some products or just one for others. For example a bicycle tracking device that is just a simple square box may not need to be sketched for aesthetics but the use case will be important. Alternatively a new stylish chair design will need to focus on aesthetics. Functionality and use case is obvious and not needed.
Some tips for sketching your invention idea:
- Communication is key. Think about what you want to get across and the best way to do that.
- Simplify the design where possible allowing the focus to be on the core invention idea and not extra features.
- Show the invention idea from different angles. This helps communicate the 3D form of the product.
- Evaluate the sketches and regularly improve them. Be open to feedback from outside sources to help learn what people do and don’t understand about your invention idea.
- Start straight away! There is nothing holding you back.
Customer Discovery & Validation
This is very important. You need to make sure your product will sell when you have 1000s of them being manufactured. Now is the best time to find out whether you invention idea will be easy to sell or not. Approach potential customers you don’t know and try to sell them your invention idea. This can be done without giving away the exact details of the Intellectual Property (IP). If it is easy to sell then ask for their emails address so you can let them know when it is possible to purchase the product. Alternativly, if you are struggling to find customers or ‘sales’ you need to talk to people about why not and how they solve the current problem. This is the best way to continually improve the invention idea and create a product that customers love.
Customer discovery and validation is talked about a lot in general business plan development. The video below gives a more detailed overview.
Lean Canvas Business Model
The Lean Canvas is a process to go from an idea to a business. Although this doesn’t focus on the creation of your actual product or prototype it is still very useful for gaining an overall understanding of your business model. Luckily it is completely free to complete. It works by helping you focus your business around the customers pains and producing a product that brings them lots of value. This is derived from a book called The Lean Startup by Eric Ries.
Follow the animated video series by Strategyser to find out more:
InventPad Design Tool and Project Reviews
Once you have got the invention idea started the InventPad design tool can help you bring together the rest of the product information needed. Follow through our easy to use web app and input your relevant information at each stage. When this is complete you can submit your project for a free review. The review makes sure you have all the information needed, a clear goal and helps you define the design work you need to get your product made. You can have multiple reviews until this is perfectly clear. Then we can reach out to our amazing design agency partners to supply you with a quote.
It’s then time for a quick celebration because this is the point when your project starts to really take off.
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