Steps on How to Invent a New Product – Complete Guide
How to Invent a New Product – Let’s face it, coming up with an idea or inventing a product isn’t really easy. It’s is a process that takes commitment, dedication, and self-belief because you would encounter set back, this is inevitable but persistent is an attribute you need to have to succeed, in this article, I’ll be showing you step to step on how to invent a product
Step 1: Believe in Yourself
According to Jo Boaler, Professor of Mathematics Education at Stanford University, it’s important to believe in yourself, because the “growth mindset” that comes part and parcel with doing so, literally changes your brain chemistry.
By cultivating a growth mindset (a mindset in which your brain is very active), and by working hard, your brain can grow and change, making it easier for you to solve problems and find new solutions.
If that’s not enough to convince you to get on the self-help bandwagon, almost every inventor I spoke to when researching this article told me that being obsessive and sticking the inventing journey through was what got their idea or product invented.
Ken Beckstead, the inventor of the Butts only Box, and a recycling company that produces electricity from cigarette waste says, “Never give up. The rough times are what weed out others from achieving their goals. Watching the Simpsons is fine, but only after you’ve done your work for the day!”
With that in mind, let’s move forward to figuring out how to come up with great ideas.
Step 2: Find a Problem Worth Solving
If you’re reading this, probabilities are you’re someone who’s got ideas, and probably a lot of them.
If you are indeed an “idea person,” you know that coming up with ideas isn’t the hard part. It’s sticking with just one of them for long enough, and seeing it through from vision to reality, that really is the trial.
Ultimately, inventing a product or coming up with an idea means one thing: solving a problem, whether it’s your own or someone else’s.
Here are some examples of problems and their commoditized solutions:
- Problem: dry skin. Invention: moisturizing skin cream.
- Problem: need to work at night in the dark. Invention: light bulbs, candles, flashlights.
- Problem: hairy clothes because you have a cat or dog. Invention: lint roller.
- Problem: can’t stop biting fingernails. Invention: horrible tasting nail polish to stop you.
- Problem: need to contact someone far away. Invention: telephone.
- Problem: boredom. Invention: board game.
The best part about inventing new things is figuring out which of your problems, or other people’s problems, you’d most like to solve. If you can find a problem that hasn’t been solved, or a way to solve a problem better, you’ve hit upon something you may want to pursue.
Of course, you don’t have to solve a brand-new problem; you just have to come up with a solution that is all your own. If you want to invent a new solution to oily hair (shampoo), no one is stopping you.
The trick then is figuring out what your exact solution is, and whether or not there will be demand for it on a scale beyond just yourself, or whether or not you’ll be able to compete, if you’re entering an already-flooded market, like the shampoo market. We’ll talk more about this in step three.
How to find Problems that Actually Need Solving:
To come up with a really great idea, all you need to start doing is tuning into your own frustrations. Doing this is easier than you think, especially if you have a job, hobby, or pursuit that you’ve been doing for years. This sort of in-depth experience gives you unique insight into the daily workings of a particular industry.
Boris Wertz, founding partner of Version One Ventures, believes that if you’ve worked in an industry you’re passionate about for a long time, you may know something about the market that nobody else knows. He calls this “the secret of the market.”
Do you know a specific market’s secret?
For example, I’ve been making my own jewelry for years. Though I’ve really only been a hobby jeweler, I’ve been doing it for so long, I’m already deep in the marketplace. I know all the jewelry suppliers, and I know what products and ideas are currently trending.
When I wanted to start making more professional metal jewelry, I started shopping for a jeweler’s workbench. I needed a desk that had features that would give me quick access to a variety of tools; that was large enough for all my mixed media projects; and that was also sturdy enough it could take hammer blows and an occasional brush from a blow torch.
The most affordable jeweler’s workbench on the market at the time started at around $400. It was small and expensive. Rather than spending the money, I spent months looking for something larger and more affordable, something that simply didn’t exist, even when I looked outside of the jewelry niche at hardware stores and wood shops.
Step 3: Do Basic Market Research (before investing money)
Once you’ve hit upon an idea you think you’d like to move forward with, it’s time to validate it by doing your market research.
According to Patricia Nolan-Brown, author of “Idea to Invention, “there are six primary reasons you do market research. I’ll expand on each of them, and offer you some additional, useful resources
The essence of market research;
1. Do market research to know if it’s already selling and who your competition is
If you do have competition, pay special attention to your product name, price range, materials used, what the product claims to do, packaging, and who the manufacturer is.
You can do a lot of this research online, but you can also do it in-person. Drop into a store that you think would be a great candidate for stocking your product in the future.
Check out what merchandise is taking up shelf space and figure out where your product might sit within a similar store.
2. Do market research to minimize risk
If you find similar products exist when you’re doing your research, look for patent numbers. That said, not every product that has been patented can be found in stores. You will still need to do an online search to make sure you’re not infringing on someone else’s idea.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is a great resource to help you learn more about intellectual property. In fact, they’ve created a 39-minute step-by-step video course to guide you through the process of conducting a preliminary U.S. Patent Search. You can also use Google’s Patent Search to see if similar ideas have been patented.
If you do find a patent similar to yours, worry. How the patent is worded can make all the difference. If you need help at this stage, contact a patent attorney and get their opinion. Don’t confuse a regular lawyer with a patent attorney. Only the latter is licensed to practice before the USPTO.
To find a patent attorney, use the USPTO’s search directory to find qualified help.
3. Do market research to see if there’s interest
Also known as asking people whether or not they’d buy your product. Make sure to ask people that can be objective (mom and dad probably won’t be) so that you can get honest feedback. Try to sample your ideal audience, and not just anyone.
If you want to explain your idea to someone in-depth and are worried potential theft, you can get them to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA)—a legal document that states both parties intent to keep information confidential. You can create one for free on the RocketLawyer website.
If you’re trying to gauge interest through online surveys, be sure to be more vague about your idea, as at this stage you likely don’t have a patent.
For example, if your idea is a new way to remove cat sand from a cat litter tray, you could ask people what bothers them most about the process of doing it. This way you don’t give away your idea, and you get information related to people’s pain points.
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