In recent blog posts, I have described a variety of reasons why inventors often fail. So now, let’s look at reasons why inventors succeed.
Today’s topic: Key to Inventor Success – Invent Strategically
First, let me lay out a couple of assumptions:
- Inventors typically have a plethora of ideas.. but
- Inventors often lack focus and strategic thinking
I believe that relatively few people are “creative types” – but 100% of inventors fall into this category.
As mentioned in a previous blog, inventors have their strengths (creativity) and weaknesses (lack of focus). For the creative type, the word “strategic” is all too often associated with rigid corporate world tenets – strategic planning, etc. So, strategic and creative aren’t often associated together. But they should be.
For invention success, it is extremely important that strategic thinking is part of the mix. Here is how an inventor can apply strategic thinking to his or her endeavors.
Initially it is great to generate many ideas and to let them just “flow freely” with little judgment as to viability or value in the marketplace. But, the next step is to focus on a few concepts that have the best chance for success in the marketplace. In other words, cull the majority and focus upon a few, preferably narrowing down to one concept for development going forward.
For example, you might have two promising ideas to consider:
- An improved to easily organize contents within a drawer
- A unique new toy to entertain dogs
Either of these items could achieve success in the marketplace if packaged, priced and positioned properly. Let’s apply a bit of critical, strategic thinking to the above two ideas.
Organizers are popular as people lead busy lives and are always seeking simple ways to organize their lives and save time. But, the drawer organizer is a very crowded field and it could be hard to differentiate your item from others. Also, because it is a crowded field, obtaining a strong utility patent is likely to be difficult – you might have to settle for a design patent, which is much weaker. That is two strikes against the organizer concept.
To be fair, there are worlds of toys out there for dogs and cats – so it is also a crowded field. But the field is much broader with fewer constraints than a drawer organizer. Furthermore, Americans spend a lot of money on their pets, approximately $62 billion per year. Also, pet toys are trending on DRTV right now which means they are very much in the public eye.
From a strategic perspective, the dog toy would be the better invention to take forward for development.