New Invention Ideas: Fill a Need to be Successful

Design your products with the customer in mind.

People who want to invent should first find a need in the marketplace before they go inventing a product.

That thought kept nagging at me the other day as I was having a conversation with two associates about invention. We were trying to decide the best way to teach a group of students about the process of inventing. How should they start, they wanted to know. What about people who are working on these great products in their garages? How should they finance them? What if they don’t have much money? Or, what if they don’t have the resources to pay for their projects from start to finish?

I was reminded by my assistant how many people have brought products to me for review over the years that were wonderful, helpful products yet probably never will be bought or sold because they really don’t solve a problem in the marketplace that needs a solution.

All of the questions we were discussing could easily be answered if a person finds either a niche market to address for a new business, or finds a product vacancy that can be filled with an improved or new product that a manufacturer will have an immediate interest in. I’m not saying it’s easy finding a niche or coming up with solutions, but it’s more cost effective for inventors to get help from companies out there who are already in business.

I know this is true because this is how I have run my business. Of course, I have done projects that I was contracted to do by major corporations, developing innovative products at their request. There also have been times when I needed to develop or improve products either because I needed work to keep my company going or I simply found a product void which needed to be filled.

One example of this is a line of cookware called Masonware(r), which came about after I got my first microwave oven and tried to cook a chicken! I found there were no suitable cooking utensils available so I developed a line of microwave cookware.

Another example is the BioPot(r). After I read that most houseplants died from being overwatered and there were millions of households that had houseplants, I researched, designed and developed a flowerpot that would keep plants evenly moisturized.

I went through the whole process with both of these products – research, development and design, modeling, patenting, finding correct and cost-effective materials and, finally, finding companies who were willing to license them and have them manufactured. Both of these products were very successful.

So the point is just simply stating that you think the world needs a new widget, and designing and making one, will not make it a product that the world really wants or needs. You can’t force the marketplace. As I have said before many time, “The customer is king.” If they, the customers, are not buying, you don’t have a product. The trick is to find something that the customer will want before you set pencil to paper!

Article – Copyright 2000 Stanley I. Mason. Syndicated by ParadigmTSA

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