Everyone has a different creative process. When it comes to inventing, there is no one right way to come up with great ideas. Yet if we were to really break it down, the general inventive process could be divided into 7 steps.
Every invention starts with an idea. What kind of space are you looking to fill? Think about what kind of problem or need you want to address and how it can be improved. Spend some time brainstorming to come up with a preliminary list and then narrow it down from there.
You’ve got a general idea and now it’s time to dive a little deeper. Does something similar already exist? Many inventions build off other ideas. What are these pre-existing ideas and how have other people tried to address them? What about your invention will be different? Doing research in a specific category may help develop your idea or uncover that you need to go in a different direction.
You don’t have to be an amazing artist to draw up some simple sketches of your idea. Putting pen to paper and visualizing what your invention will look like will help you see what you need to add, change, or get rid of to make it more successful. Sketch a couple versions to help you conceptualize what you want it to look like and how it will function.
You’ve got some sketches and now it’s time to build it out and create a prototype. There’s no need to get super fancy yet, most inventors use simple materials to bring their idea to life. By having a 3D prototype, you can physically see problems or improvements you can make.
Now that you have a physical product to use, test it out! See if it functions the way you envision it, and solves the problem you initially set out to improve. Take notes on what you can change or add, and ask others for their input as well. Getting a fresh pair of eyes on your invention can help give you a new perspective.
How can you improve your prototype? Whether you need to make small refinements or tear it down and start again, don’t be discouraged by the extra work. Nothing starts out perfect, and you may need to go through a few rounds of edits before you’re satisfied with how your invention addresses the problem it’s intended to solve.
Once you finally have a version you’re satisfied with, the next step is to sell it. You need to distinguish what makes your product unique and highlight those features. Build up some interest in your product by setting it apart from the rest. How will you sell your product?
You’ve gone through the steps and gotten a final product out of it, but we all know the work doesn’t stop there. As an inventor, you’ll continually be working on new ideas and improving upon old ones. No matter how far you want to go with your products, these seven steps are a great way to kick start your creative process and get yourself thinking and doing. What comes next is up to you!