2. New opportunities to create products arise suddenly when other new products are introduced in the market. Example—the arrival of the smart phone offered thousands of opportunities for new smart-phone based “products” including smart-phone games such as “Angry Birds.”
4. Connect random things to arrive at a new creative idea. By connecting random words, “watermelon” and “cube,” we arrive at the silly idea of a “cube-shaped watermelon.” Do not dismiss the idea as stupid. In reality, watermelon grown inside a transparent cube is a cube-shaped watermelon that farmers find are easy to ship, and more can be shipped in a truck or rectangular boxes. Picture: I365Art-1072351659
5. Deliberately think different; conventional extension cord is clumsy and is an eyesore. A solution to the extension-cord problem lies not in the extension cord itself but in the wall—an extension cord that hides or stores inside the wall, and can be pulled out, when needed. Picture: Stowaway extension cord. Designer: Meysam Movahedi, 2009.
6. Deliberate observations to stimulate new idea-generation. It is harder to come up with new ideas in a vacuum. Therefore, observe thousands of problems that have been solved by existing products on the shelves of large retailers and the Internet—then find improvements for existing products that already have a market.
6a. Visit Walmart, Home Depot, Target and other stores and observe their shelves for ideas. Picture shows Home Depot store with thousands of products.
6b. Search the Internet, search the web pages of online stores such as Amazon and other on-line retailers.
6c. Search patents and patent applications for new ideas. You may search about 10 million (2018) granted patents as well as many more patent applications in the USA using Google Patents, and/or the US Patents and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) website. The book mentioned below teaches patent searching.
When you observe extensively with the intention of finding new ideas, be a good critical observer; do not be limited by your assumptions. Old assumptions kill creative new ideas (example: cube-shaped watermelon—don’t reject it by treating as a “stupid” idea); and do not limit the number of solutions to a problem (that is, think of many possible solutions to a single problem), “more the merrier.”
Message to engineers? “invent often.” In another Blog, I explain why we can successfully apply for and get patents for our inventions.
For examples of successfully commercialized inventions, read Gunjan Mehta's answer in Quora to the question: How can I make millions patenting my inventions?
Click here to see author's patented inventions.
For more about inventing, see the book: ENGINEERING ENTREPRENEURSHIP FROM IDEA TO BUSINESS PLAN, Cambridge University Press, NY, October 2016.
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