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Tips on how to discover a new product to invent

25 February 2010 9 CommentsBy Sarah Shaw

k0445883Struggling to figure out a way to invent a new product?  Thanks to the amazing Entreprenette Experts, here are 58 tips on how to discover a new product to invent.  Be sure to have a pen and paper ready because there are awesome resources in here.

1. Use the economy to your benefit

Tips on how to discover a new product to invent:
With the current economy, I believe the best products to invent right now would be anything that helps to repair, extend, protect or preserve the life of any item you currently own.  Products made in the USA or manufactured out of recycled materials is a plus too.

Thanks to: Jeanne Krieg   www.drymate.com

2.  Be observant

Tips on how to discover a new product to invent:
Designers are trained to utilize user observation as a source of new product ideas.  For example, if you want to invent a new gardening tool for older adults, join a local gardening club and ask to observe some of your new friends working in their garden at home. Record this in some way. Designers often use video / photos or take notes.  In your initial observations and subsequent review of what you have recorded, you will often find problems to be solved. Therein lies your opportunity to invent.

Thanks to: Scott Doty   www.scott-doty.com

3.  Ask friends and family

Tips on how to discover a new product to invent:
The best way to discover products to invent is to think of needs that haven’t been met yet.  Find out what items friends and family members would like to have to make their lives easier.  If those items don’t exist already, there’s an opportunity to invent a new and necessary product.

Thanks to: Tangela Walker-Craft    simplynecessary.com

4. MAKE PROTOTYPES!

Tips on how to discover a new product to invent:
Even if you can draw or clearly picture the product and you are totally convinced that the product will work, there is absolutely NO SUBSTITUTE FOR DEVELOPING A WORKING MODEL!  With basic tools like a Dremel Tool (my favorite), a small drill press and a small table saw, you can usually cut and create all of the parts necessary to develop a working prototype.  Use parts from other products – Cut and fit them to suit your needs.  You’d be amazed at what you can make if you just give it a try.  I even learned basic sewing techniques to create some of our products!

Thanks to: Fred Larson  www.KyssBags.com

5.  Write it down

Tips on how to discover a new product to invent:
Inventing a new product doesn’t have to be brain surgery or rocket science.  If you go about your normal day, doing what you always do, you’ll probably find problems (little or big) that need a solution.  People have ideas for products more often than they think.  The problem is, they just don’t do anything about them.  The next time you think, “I wish there was a way to fix this,” write the problem down and then start working on the solution.  If you don’t take action on your ideas, you’ll end up being one of those people who always says, “Hey, I had that ideas years ago” when they see a product on the store shelves.

Thanks to: Jason O’Neill   www.pencilbugs.com

6. Follow your heart

Tips on how to discover a new product to invent:
Create something that satisfies your own itch. Think about something that would make your life easier.  Chances are, other people want it as well. And even if it fails, you still followed your heart and scratched your own itch.  Remember, a bad idea is one that doesn’t happen.

Thanks to: Anthony Adams  www.drinkthc.com

7.  Improve on something

Tips on how to discover a new product to invent:
Find a solution to an everyday problem.  Improve on existing products.  Sometime it’s as simple as a button in a different place, or a bigger switch!

Thanks to: Edie Tolchin www.egtglobaltrading.com

8.  Hang out in forums

Tips on how to discover a new product to invent:
A great way to invent a product is to solve a real problem – I suggest observing problems that are discussed frequently in forums. Inventing a product takes a huge investment in your time and money – make sure you have customers willing to buy.

Thanks to: John Krech www.phitch.com

9. Be observant

Tips on how to discover a new product to invent:
Take your own needs seriously.  Once you’ve identified one that’s import enough for you to solve for yourself, be super observant of whom else might benefit significantly from this same solution.

Thanks to: Nora Firestone  www.ThankingOfYou.com

10. Listen to complaints

Tips on how to discover a new product to invent:
The best way to find new products is to focus on problems. What do people complain about? What do we ‘put up with’ that is sub-standard? Where do you see things that are hard or take a long time where it just doesn’t make sense? THESE are great opportunities to fill a need.

Thanks to: Julie Lenzer Kirk 
 PathForwardIntl.com

11. Seek Inspiration

Tips on how to discover a new product to invent:
My entrepreneur’s tips for discovering new products is to seek inspiration from your current and potential customers. Study how they do their work and live their lives by immersing yourself into their natural habitats. Pay attention to the work-arounds that they engage and the challenges that they have. This will help you articulate both the spoken and unspoken needs of your customer. Then, figure out how you can fill these service gaps and better meet your customers’ needs.

Thanks to: Brianna Sylver sylverconsulting.com

12.  Look Around

Tips on how to discover a new product to invent:
I think the best way to discover new products is to pay attention to what’s going on around you. There are opportunities in the most unlikely of places. Anytime you hear yourself say, “I wish there was….” you have an idea for a product or service.

Thanks to: Marianne Douglas www.strategiesforsuccesscurriculum.com

13.  I wish I had a…..

Tips on how to discover a new product to invent:
I use the following statement _daily -_ “I wish I had a….” I actually carry a small notebook around, just for “I wish I had a…” ideas. When we’ve had obstacles (small or large), I’ve made this statement as have others in the company. More often than not, we find a solution or create a new/better product.

Thanks to: Heather McGee www.sockgramscom

14.  See the bright side

Tips on how to discover a new product to invent:
An invention solves a problem. That said, the next time you are cursing you head off because something isn’t working right think on the bright side. Solving that problem may be the next big thing.

Thanks to: Vicki Forster  www.bvtproducts.com

15.   Observe

Tips on how to discover a new product to invent:
Go out and experience life.  Sit in a park and watch people walk around. Go to the mall and observe consumers in action.  Inspecting seemingly routine human actions will generate ideas – what looks mundane, are there inefficiencies, is there something that could make this better?  Sitting home and racking your brain will get you nowhere. 

Also, ask friends and family members a simple question “what annoys you most about your daily routine?” This will help you detect inefficiencies in everyday life.  It’s your job to invent a product or service that makes peoples lives easier.

Thanks to: Chris Homer  www.thredup.com/kids

16. Fill a need

Tips on how to discover a new product to invent:
The other is need based. Find out what a company (or even consumer) needs,
or could use, design it, prototype it, price it and then sell it. Clean, simple and not much risk.

Thanks to: John Anderes   http://thepallina.com

17.  Find a problem

Tips on how to discover a new product to invent:
I begin with a problem I encounter. So there is a need for a solution, which is usually a product.

Thanks to: Barry Beckham http://www.beckhamhouse.com

18.  Innovation

Tips on how to discover a new product to invent:
For me discovering a new product or service to invent comes from one of two areas: passion or frustration. The height of innovation and creativity comes from something you tend to obsess about and can’t seem too get off your mind. Something that you are passionate about or something that sticks in your craw and creates frustration tends to spur the creative juices and flow. Chances are if it resonates with you it will resonate with others and that’s when you know you have something.

Thanks to: Steve Harper www.ripplecentral.com

19. Internal Passion

Tips on how to discover a new product to invent:
An invention created without the backing of
internal passion will not succeed. Internal passion is the nudging and
feeling that you get when you know a product is needed to come to
market. When you listen to that inside voice you are creating a
product that is something more than just a tangible item. The product
represents something you believe in. Without this an invention will
fail at some point in the process, because it’s the internal passion
that allows all entrepreneurs to surge ahead in the hardest of times.

Thanks to: Jeff Gawronski 
  www.YakAboutIt.com

20.  Focus on what speaks to you

Tips on how to discover a new product to invent:
You’re more likely to tough out the invention-to-market process if you focus on an area that somehow speaks to you personally. If you are a new mother, ask other new mothers to name their top three baby product frustrations then start working on a solution. If you’re passionate about the environment, look for trends that can be capitalized on. If you are addicted to the Food Network constantly scan your environment for opportunities to improve upon gadgets already in use. Pay attention to those times you’ve said, “I wish someone would come up with a way to…” Then you be the person!

Thanks to: Valerie Young
 
http://ChangingCourse.com

21. Examine your environment

Tips on how to discover a new product to invent:
Look at your own environment and what could you improve? for
yourself and others? Having said this inventors get
ideas…….. (“with wings”) meaning it is not just a passing thought.. 
there is
passion,and energy to sustain the process of manifestation.
People all the time say I thought of that idea years ago, Ideas and
inventions are miles apart.
A song writer can not stop thinking about the song until it is in
our world, same with a real invention.

Thanks to: Ginny Scales-Medeiros

22. Develop for a specific need

Tips on how to discover a new product to invent:
Keeping a specific need in mind when you’re developing will cover all your bases and set your niche apart from others. For instance, if you’re developing a new way to mop floors, find a niche of people your trying to help – say people with arthritis. If you can make a process easier for people with arthritis then you automatically appeal to the masses who don’t have arthritis and therefore make their life easier as well.

Thanks to: Chris Sonjeow
www.LoveBookOnline.com

23.  Make the world a better place

Tips on how to discover a new product to invent:
Ask yourself, “What will make this world and its citizens a better place?” My product encourages young children to be more creative and artistic, and develop a deeper interest in reading books.

Thanks to: Ila Mehta  

www.littlewritebrain.com

24. Keep asking why!

Get out that shovel and dig, dig, dig until you find the root cause of your client’s pain. I love customers, but they don’t know what they want – nor should they!  That’s our job.  When a client says they want something ask them why. And then ask why again – 5, 6, even 7 times until you get to root cause because that’s where you’ll see whether there is an unmet need that you can fill.

Thanks to: Mike Dalton http://www.SimplifyingInnovation.com

25.  Determination and drive

Tips on how to discover a new product to invent:
Necessity is the mother of all invention unless you just want to have fun. Then you have to have Novelty, Desire, Testing, Distribution, Sales, Publicity, Marketing, Business Sense, Investment, Determination and above and beyond all else Passion, to make your invention something other than just another idea.

Thanks to: Donald W. McNeill www.McNeillDesigns.com

26. Personal experience

Tips on how to discover a new product to invent:
I think the number one way to discover a brilliant new product to invent
is through your own personal experience. How many times in your life do
you think ‘I wish I could find… (product)’ or ‘I wish I could do … but
I just don’t have the time’. If you can invent a product that meets
peoples’ needs AND saves them time, then you’re practically guaranteed a
successful business/product!

Thanks to: Lindsay
Christianson

  www.hotlunchdates.com

27.  Apply and leverage

Tips on how to discover a new product to invent:
Look at other sectors or industries where the learnings you have in one area can absolutely be applied and leveraged to solve a problem in another sector.

Thanks to: Jack Kasarjian www.xprotex.com

28.  Improve on it

Tips on how to discover a new product to invent:
Whenever I get annoyed at something not working correctly, or me having to do extra work, I try to think why this is, and if I could improve the tools I’m using. Feeling frustrated it can be a great time for ideas!

Thanks to: Paul Dickinson  http://www.studentcarshop.com

29. Educate

Tips on how to discover a new product to invent:
To discover new products to invent, take a staggering or surprising problem you find most people deal with, or might not even be aware of – then educate and create the solution.

Thanks to: ANNIE ULICHNEY AND KIM KOELLE WWW.BANGLZ.COM

30.  The cool factor

Tips on how to discover a new product to invent:
One great way to get an idea for an invention is to stop racking your brain looking for something new, and instead focus on a solution to a problem that you’ve already come up with.  It’s probably right in front of you, but because it’s working so well, you’re not noticing it.  The key is to travel through your day on the lookout for these brilliant gems that you’ve already thought of that are completely cool and inventive, and then ask yourself, “Do other people have the same problem I had?  Could they benefit from my very effective, tried and true solution?”  If the answer is yes, you’re on your way!

Thanks to: Sue Wilkowski  www.textSAT.com

31. Find a niche

Tips on how to discover a new product to invent:
There are riches in niches. Find a universal need that people everywhere are eager to solve, and fill it.

Thanks to: Nancy Juetten  www.byebyeboringbio.com

32.  Pay attention
Tips on how to discover a new product to invent:
Find a need and fill it by paying attention to the problems or needs right in front of you.  For years I would notice a need and think of a good idea to solve it, but do nothing, and 10 years later someone else would come up with great invention to solve the problem. I finally decided to do something to fill a need I noticed.

Thanks to: Lance Reasor www.pajamawarmer.com

33.  Ask and ask again

Tips on how to discover a new product to invent:
I often get inspiration for new products by asking myself “I would have purchased this product, BUT…”  The answers could be price point, quality, product features, design, etc.  If I am asking these types of questions, I can usually assume that other potential customers are thinking the same things, and that’s when I discover new product niches.

Thanks to: Lester Hutt   www.bevshots.com

34.  Check out message-boards

Tips on how to discover a new product to invent:
As an artist I’m always looking for what i can do to make life easier for creative people who want to be more creative. 

My one great tip is to frequent message-boards (in your area of interest) and forums to see which question is posed the most and then see if you can fill that need. An example might be if the hobbyist is saying they keep burning themselves with the glue gun – you can invent a way or product to help prevent the person from getting burnt.

Thanks to: VIOLETTE   
WWW.VIOLETTE.CA

35.  Timer savers

Tips on how to discover a new product to invent:
Think about what wastes the most time during your repetitive daily activities and try to think of a way to save time. Time is valuable, so any invention that makes life easier will be appreciated.

Thanks to: Barbara Schantz http://www.babydipper.com

36.  Look behind you

Tips on how to discover a new product to invent:
One of the things I do to get inspired is to look to the past. I scour museums and history books and find ideas that need a new twist. You never know what you will find. And it sometimes inspires you to create something totally new.

Thanks to: Julie Austin   
www.swiggies.com

37.  Let your fingers do the walking

Tips on how to discover a new product to invent:
Do extensive research in an area in which you’re interested – you may hit on a niche that has yet to be filled – caveat is, this needs to be something practical, that seems to fill an actual void.

Thanks to: Lizzy Shaw  www.lizzyshawpr.com

38. Unique is key

Tips on how to discover a new product to invent:
If you’ve thought of an idea/concept for a new product, and it is NOT out on the market (search all search engines/patent searches on the internet for your idea, using several different descriptive words to cover all bases), and it is a product that can make life easier, help people, or just be a unique item to buy (like a toy)…. go for it! You can do anything you put your mind to!

Thanks to: Debbie Oser  www.KeepingitPositive.net

39.  Mundane can lead to marvelous

Tips on how to discover a new product to invent:
Pay attention to the ordinary and mundane! My moment of inspiration came by paying attention to two unrelated, mundane occurrences, that ‘clicked’ together because I simply paid attention. Inspiration comes from realizing the solution to a problem so common as to be ordinary…it also means that there is potentially a large market for your solution.

Thanks to: Sean www.evercleardrain.com

40. Measure the ROI

Tips on how to discover a new product to invent:
Find a niche where your effort applied in the right spot can either increase revenues for your customer, or save them money. The easier it is for them to measure the ROI, the quicker they’ll line up to pay for your help.

Thanks to: Deborah Blake   
www.introspectrum.com

41.  Industry groups

Tips on how to discover a new product to invent:
My tip is to join linked in groups for the industry you want to invent a product for. I have stumbled across a number of people looking for products to solve problems. You can also start a conversation about what people need in those groups and the world will tell you what to invent. How cool is that?

Thanks to: Michael Araten 
K’NEX Brands, L.P.

42.   100% Gizmo

Tips on how to discover a new product to invent:
Paradoxically, the difficult part of invention and product innovation isn’t finding a good idea – we all have them daily.  Our everyday experiences naturally compel us to think inventive thoughts like: “this thing would be better if it did such-and-so, or wouldn’t it be cool if I had a gizmo that did this-and-that. . .”  The difficulty is in understanding just how to take such a creative idea from the point of conception to a market-ready product. Every year billions of dollars are invested in new product innovation businesses that are launched and led by inventors who generally lack a solid basis of experience in the product innovation business world. As such, many of these start-up enterprises fail – not due to a bad idea, but due to bad business planning and execution.

Thanks to: Mark Lake  www.inventorspuzzle.com

43.  Irritation leads to innovation

Tips on how to discover a new product to invent:
Let your irritation with problems/inefficiencies be your guide to innovation.  Recognize when something is bothering you and then turn your mind to solutions.

Thanks to: Jason Webb, 
www.webbiplaw.com

44.  Innovate

Tips on how to discover a new product to invent:
Uncover a problem that is encountered by many, identify the inefficiencies of the existing remedies and then create an innovative and unique solution.

Thanks to: Dr. Wahi’s http://www.trutekcorp.com

45. Fix it

Tips on how to discover a new product to invent:
Solve a problem. Simple enough, right? Chances are, you’re not the only one with this problem, and there may even be hundreds, or thousands, or millions facing the same issue you are.  Fix it and they will follow.

Thanks to: Christian Galvin   
www.TixList.com

46. Persevere

Tips on how to discover a new product to invent:
You have to love what you do. Take what you are passionate about and you can develop a product or service that can help others. It takes time and a ton of hard work, but perseverance can lead to a successful business.

Thanks to: David M. Stone   www.PhotographicSolutions.com

47.  Write it down

Tips on how to discover a new product to invent:
When someone elbows ya while your drinking a few beers and says “Hey! There’s your million dollar idea!” You write it down so in the morning if you are a bit foggy, you remember. Most important, do it if you still think it sounds good!

Thanks to: Chef Tom   www.pizzabeer.net

48.  Tune into friends needs

Tips on how to discover a new product to invent:
Necessity is the mother of invention, right? Find a need that hasn’t been met and fill it. Tune in to something that you and your friends have always wanted or needed but can’t find.

Thanks to: Jenny Pavlovic 

www.8StateKate.net

49. Listen

Tips on how to discover a new product to invent:
Listen to yourself. If you’ve ever said, “Somebody should make …”, “This would be better if …”, or “I don’t know why they don’t …”, those are opportunities waiting to happen. If you have a problem with a product or see a need, others have seen the same issue. The difference is YOU are “somebody.” YOU are “they.” Pursue it and YOU can be making a lot of money.

Thanks to: Mary Pitman
http://www.MySpiritualAffirmations.com

50.  Look in your own backyard

Tips on how to discover a new product to invent:
Usually the best new product ideas are closer than you think. Instead of looking into new industries, most entrepreneurs find greater success investigating industries they are currently involved in, either professionally or as a hobby or interest. There are two reasons why they usually find the greatest success in these areas: first, they understand the industry better either because they are already a part of the industry or they understand what end users want because they themselves are end users; and second, they are already familiar with industry trade magazines and events and possibly already have insider contacts that will help them with the introduction of the product–a vital asset for any product introduction. So entrepreneurs would do well not to look to far for their next idea.

Thanks to: Don Debelak  http://onestopinventionshop.net

51.  Pinpoint a situation

Tips on how to discover a new product to invent:
Well, all you need to do in order to discover a new product to invent is search for problems or issues that you face in your daily life. If you have a challenge with a task, or can pinpoint a situation for which a new product idea could improve it or make it easier, better, or  faster, etc., then you have the makings of a successful invention.

Chances are that if you can come up with a way to solve an everyday problem and it works well for you, then it will also work well for others and that will create value and could in turn mean $ in your pocket.  Everyone has these ideas, but it’s those who take them to the next level that reap the rewards.

Thanks to: Laura J. Miranti www.boardbookalbums.com

52.  Improve

Tips on how to discover a new product to invent:
A lot of great products that do well in the market place are usually improvements on existing products or the same product with a better marketing scheme.

Thanks to: Shari Sopourn  www.bailoutthegame.com

53. Be specific

Tips on how to discover a new product to invent:
Find a niche market with a specific need that has not been filled.

Thanks to: Robin Downe   www.fairsharechorecards.com

54. Make notes

Tips on how to discover a new product to invent:
Always write down notes, if you do not want to carry around a notebook to write your notes and thoughts then open up the memo feature in your phone and start punching away. People seldom forget some of their best ideas because they never wrote them down. Keep a good record of all your ideas and use it in your brainstorming session for your invention.

Thanks to: Tim R http://www.communitymarketing.typepad.com

55.  Be aware of compliments

Tips on how to discover a new product to invent:
The tip is BE AWARE of what people are responding to.
If you are wearing a product that people ask “where did you get that?” Or I want one, be cognizant of that. I mean that you have a market for something.

Thanks to: Ruta Fox www.divinediamonds.com

56. Brain Dump

Tips on how to discover a new product to invent:
Tapping into our creative minds is the best way to develop a great invention. Brain Dump is a simple technique that takes as little as 15 minutes but yields incredible results.

First, set a timer and write without stopping for 15 minutes. (You can go longer than that—but start with a shorter period of time.) Write about any ideas you have for a new product or invention—or about a problem that needs an invention to fix it. Explore questions such as what if, then what, why, how, etc. As your pen moves or your fingers tap at the keyboard, DON’T STOP! That’s the key to your success. It’s okay to fill in with “I don’t know what to write.” Just keep writing, because when you do, something magical happens. That critical part of your mind, the one that tells you your new ideas are stupid or useless, gets quieter with each tick of the timer, opening the way to fresher ideas and deeper insights.

Next, set the timer again for 10 minutes and go back over what you wrote, circling the nuggets—the good stuff you got down, your key points. Now you’ve captured new insights—and, with practice, some Eureka! moments—that form the foundation of your new product or invention.

Thanks to: Lynda McDaniel www.lyndamcdaniel.com

57. Step back

Tips on how to discover a new product to invent:
As is the case with some of the most noted technology advancements, many products emerge as solutions to specific customer problems. Step back and think about the unique problems companies in your industry are looking to solve and think about the most efficient, cost-effective solution to address the challenge. Seek out industry leaders who can validate your approach – an influential relationship is often key to identifying and enabling an opportunity. Oftentimes, these unique customized approaches turn out to fill a huge market void.

Thanks to: Michael Dillard www.criterion-hps.com

58.  Desire

Tips on how to discover a new product to invent:
Desire improvement. Constantly ask, “How can I make this better?

Thanks to: Kiai http://alphadogthebook.com

Share

9 Comments »

  • Timothy Ruffner said:

    I really agree with everything that was posted here. I especially like the fact that there needs to be a prototype made. This is very important. You can get the feel, function and design all done just by producing a prototype. In today’s day and age it is very inexpensive to produce a working prototype. They have so much technology it would make it so easy to get this done!

    I also like the tip that says you need to be unique and also find a niche. Those are great tips!

    * DMLS – Direct Metal Laser Sintering

  • Susan said:

    All great ideas!!!

  • Steve Harper said:

    Hey Sarah!

    Thanks for sharing my tip! I am honored to be on your list!

    Ripple On!!!

  • Ed Zimmer said:

    No one mentioned the classic text on that subject — Peter Drucker’s “Innovation and Entrepreneurship” — which is still available on Amazon.

  • Staff TXTNLRN said:

    These are extremely valid points to consider when, how, why creating a business.

    The other important point is to have fun in what you are doing.

    Thank you
    Staff Txtnlrn

  • Stephen Bozzone said:

    Wow, that’s a lot of tips. Some good information. For me, the ideas just seem to hit me. Call it a flash of inspiration. I find it helpful to seed my mind with all kinds of different stimuli.

    One day I saw a pizza cutter shaped like a shark. I showed it to my 12 year-old son and we stated to brainstorm at the breakfast table.

    I designed my invention and sent it off to a major housewares company. I should have and answer in a couple of weeks to see if they are interested in licensing it.

    Nice blog, I will be checking back often.

  • Kiran said:

    Loved this article please post more on invention and how should we train our minds to think diffrently

  • Sean said:

    When you create a product and you are using other already developed products as mechanisms or smaller parts of your invention, do you have to pay royalties on your profits? For example,if I use pre made door hinges as part of my invention, can I do that? Do I have to pay royAlties to the producer of the hinges?

  • John said:

    Nice tips… Follow those instructions and BOOM! Good and new invention.

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