Tips and Tricks for Inventing - The Development of a Creative Idea
No matter which field you work in, creative ideas always go down well and can take you up the career ladder. But not everyone is born with an innovative spirit. Sometimes, you have the necessary skills, but your creativity is blocked. It happens to so many people these days that they have forgotten to think freely due to stress, pressure to perform, worries, or tight hierarchies in the workplace. Free thinking, "thinking outside the box", linking, and recognizing connections or problems are the prerequisites for brainstorming. The following article provides important tips on how to clear your mind and reactivate your creativity.
For inventors, but also for start-up companies, fresh ideas are essential. But you don't have to be Gyro Gearloose or have a thinking cap to stimulate the grey cells to hatch ideas. The right mindset or a good strategy can be enough to develop interesting products or new concepts. Help your inner inventor to the light! Be creative!
The right Mindset for Inventors
The right state of mind is the most important tool for creativity. Leave worries or small everyday problems behind you. Try not to burden your mind with unnecessary things. If you find it difficult to free yourself from such restrictions or worn-out ways of thinking, try techniques such as yoga or taking long walks. Often, it also helps to create an environment that is inspiring. Collect things that arouse your interest and steer your thinking in a new direction. These can be newspaper articles, pictures, slogans, or even unusually shaped objects. Another technique is to visit places you have been curious about for a long time and that stimulate your mind. It is also important to allow yourself enough rest. Creative people can focus on one thing for hours, but they also sleep a lot. This gives the subconscious time to process things and create new connections.
Approaches to Brainstorming
In order to make it easier for people or new entrepreneurs to develop ideas, so-called "creativity techniques" have been established. These are strategies for transforming existing concepts into new ones. It doesn't always take a completely new invention. It is often enough to identify and study the problems in existing concepts in order to find solutions.
This list contains frequently used creative techniques. Five of these are explained in more detail in the following sections.
- Problem recognition
- Combination of existing concepts
- Use trends
- Use experience
- Role-playing games (e.g. Walt Disney Method)
- Headstand (Find out what doesn't work)
Identifying Problems and Finding Solutions
The first way to arrive at innovative concepts is to choose a problem that still exists in a current concept. New developments are often not perfect or practicable and must be refined over time. If you find something from your industry that occupies the zeitgeist but can still be improved, let your mind brood over it. The more you allow your subconscious mind to deal with the question, the faster it will generate possible solutions. The idea for the e-bike was born about 150 years ago, but heavy engines slowed down the success of the invention - in the truest sense of the word. It was only with the production of small and lightweight lithium-ion batteries that they gained new fame in the 1990s.
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The Combination of Existing Concepts
Another possibility to convince customers, bosses, or product testers is to combine old concepts and create a better, more innovative concept from them. Shower gel and shampoo are working concepts. Most people need and use them. For frequent travellers and frequent flyers, the combination of both in one bottle was a space-saving and welcome innovation. And it is precisely for these people that the toothpaste-dispensing toothbrush of the future could be of great interest.
Identifying and Exploiting trends
If you would like to generate a new, interesting solution that brings social benefits, you should investigate the zeitgeist. Knowing what is occupying people now - what is being well received, what is being complained about - can be helpful in finding starting points for ideas. Anyone who can see the trends of the future from this is clearly at an advantage. Sometimes it also helps to search patent databases and find out what has already been registered in the relevant industry but has not yet become established. Solution approaches after a patent search could result in a new patent.
Allow Many Ideas and Choose the Best One
Another way to develop a good idea is to allow multiple ideas. This has less to do with brainstorming than with motivation. First, the problem must be important to you and you must want to find solutions. Inventors are usually characterized by a high drive and high productivity. Not everything is usable, but perhaps every six months you’ll have an idea that is outstanding. A second requirement is that you are familiar with the areas you are thinking about. Try to generate as much knowledge as possible in the field in which you work and in related subject areas. Read everything about the topic. This will give your brain the fuel it needs.
Companies sometimes offer their employees the opportunity to develop their skills in many different areas. However, too many companies limit themselves to one specialist area and only promote further training in one area, which inhibits the development of ideas. Ideas come about by combining knowledge and experience from several specialist areas.
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Do you sometimes doubt your ideas? Do you hear things like "What's the point?" or "That's never gonna happen"? Don't let them stop you from following your development.
Brainstorming Inhibits Creativity
Likewise, many companies still rely on brainstorming to find new ideas for operation. They gather employees in one room and ask them to suggest as many ideas as possible. Even completely absurd ideas are welcome. But often it results in weak proposals that are not usable later. Why is that? Creativity rarely takes place at a particular time or under pressure. How often does it happen that you can't think of anything in such situations? It makes much more sense to address existing problems and, after some time, schedule a second meeting - after all participants have had time to deal with them. Role-playing can also be useful to look at problems from a new perspective, e.g. that of the customer. This can help to develop new demands and generate a market that is not yet saturated or characterized by competition ("Blue Ocean Strategy").
After Enlightenment - What to do with the idea?
When the eureka moment finally arrives, one must decide how to protect their new idea. Since creative progress is to be promoted, the protection of an idea alone is not possible. The only thing that really works here is secrecy until the implementation has taken place. However, the embodiment of the idea is then subject to copyright and can be applied for a patent if it is a commercially usable object. Look at the other articles on the website ("Implementing the Invention" and "Why Should you Protect your Invention?"). Patent protection lasts a maximum of 25 years.
If neither copyright nor trademark rights has been applied for, freedom of imitation applies. This means that new ideas may also be used to implement them in innovative ways.
If you want to develop new ideas, look for topics that are important to you. Only then will you have enough motivation to generate the necessary knowledge for the process of brainstorming. Choose problems from these areas and try to find many possible solutions. Numerous creative techniques have established themselves in the business sector. Use only those which you address from the outset and which work for you. Once the idea is there, it must be kept secret until it has been implemented. Only then is it possible to have the invention legally protected.