The Invention Addict 12 Step Program to Invent—Going from Inspiration to Innovation.
This is a series of posts on the 12 steps how to invent a product. A DIY class for Inventors.

The eighth step is CONFIRMATION– Before you get too far along, you need to get confirmation or validation that you idea has merit. Depending on you patent situation, you can do a focus group. It would be informal, just some friends over to get their reaction. I suggest you video tape because it’s hard to take notes and explain the product at the same time.

Now if you are inventing what you know, you are a pretty good example of your target market. The big “IF” is can you remain objective and not let emotions get in the way. Your invention is not your baby. Get a dog if you have the need to nurture and feel loved.

One way I get confirmation is to see if companies are interested. I recently had a pet toy idea that I’ve been kicking around for about a year. I was hesitant to take it further because the cost to prototype it would be a few hundred dollars.

The other night I ran the idea past the board. My wife and son. They are honest with me. I told them it’s OK to be honest, I can take it. So dinner time conversations sometimes become brainstorming sessions. I like to call this “running it up the flag pole and see if any one salutes.” The idea seemed to have merit.

So Here’s what I did:

  1. Google! I found the company with the largest market share of this particular pet product. I also found a good candidate for #2, and #3 companies to contact.
  2. I went the to the company site,  found the e-mail address and sent a short e-mail. Now I don’t say too much. I want to get them interested.
  3. In a matter of hours I got a response.
  4. The next day, I send out the NDA.
  5. That night I create the CAD model so I have graphic for the sell sheet.
  6. The next morning, while the company is reviewing the NDA, I scurry to finish the sell sheet.

Cost: $0.00

Risk: I risk the time I spend making the sell sheet and the CAD model. All total less than 7 hours

I can get feedback on my concept with minimal investment of time and money. I could have filed a PPA or patent, made a prototype, and made a sell sheet to only find out that no one even wants my product!

Now there is one idea (my wife’s idea) that I think is MONEY. For that one I’m filing a PPA and I’m going to pitch it to TeleBrands. I will make a prototype, a video, and a sell sheet to send in.

Summary
Here are the 12 steps to invent a product:
1. Realization
2. Frustration
3. Ideation
4. Exploration
5. Investigation
6. Simulation
7. Productization
8. Confirmation
9. Communication
10. Conversation
11. Negotiation
12. Celebration

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