How many ideas do you need?

How many ideas do you need?

If you want to quit your day job — or have your inventions pay for vacations and/or college funds — you need to develop a lot of ideas.  Shooting for just one “killer” idea/invention is like trying to win the lottery with only one ticket.


How many ideas do you need?  Ten is a good start, and you should probably work up to twenty or thirty ideas if you want to be a wealthy inventor.


Dr. Linus Pauling said ~ “The best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas.” 



Pay attention!


How do you get a lot of ideas?   By paying attention to your life around you.


For example, every time you find yourself saying, “D*** it!” when you are doing something, ask yourself, “Is there a better way of doing this?” and “How can I do this differently?”


It happens every day — you experience a task or activity that could be done differently or better. Maybe it’s a new spatula or a better way of taking out the cat litter.  Or maybe a routine task at work or home could be faster or more enjoyable.  Train yourself to start seeing everything around you as an inventing opportunity.  Look for alternatives and solutions. It really is as simple as that.


Here’s an exercise to try if you think you’re not an idea person or if you find yourself suffering from ‘Idea Block’.   Ask yourself the following question: “How can I make an activity easier or more pleasurable?” This is a great question because it forces you to break an activity down and figure out how to make it more efficient, easier or  less frustrating.


Of course there are times when ideas seem to fall into our laps.  In any case, it’s the recognition that the idea popped up in the first place that’s important. This is an active process.



Your idea notebook


Also, write down those ideas!  Can you remember what you had for dinner five days ago?  Probably not.  Your brain holds ideas/thoughts only just so long.  Write all your ideas in an idea-book and keep it handy at all times.


Then, when you’ve developed an idea and start pitching the idea, remember that the story behind the product or service is sometimes as important the product itself. I’ve heard it said, “Facts tell, stories sell.” If nothing else, the story behind the product brings out your enthusiasm for the thing, and believe me, this helps when pitching the thing.  So write down the story in your little notebook too.



Test your ideas


As long as you can answer yes to at least one of the following questions (preferably more than one question), you have an idea worth developing. That doesn’t mean each idea will see the light of day, only that an idea will have NO chance if you can’t answer yes to one or more of these questions:


  1. Are you solving a problem?
  2. Are you fulfilling a dream?
  3. Are you inventing to a need?
  4. Can you manufacture or develop the product, service or business and sell the product or deliver experience of the service or business at a profit?

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