The 5 D’s: How to Turn Your Invention into a Reality
In the shower, my mind is calm as the hot water destresses my body. The day was normal. Busy, stressful, and I didn’t remember to eat lunch till 3pm. But it was a great day. My eyes close, things go dark, and I slip into the abyss of a hot shower after a long day.
I don’t want to move and don’t feel like I even have the energy to go for the shampoo.
BAM! All of a sudden, it hits me.
An awesome idea. Eureka!
My eyes open immediately, only to be blasted by hot water. Ouch! I shut the water off. Silence. I blink hard and rub my eyes as I try to find the shower door, and step out quickly but with caution, aiming for the carpet so I don’t end up on the floor.
I find a nearby towel, quickly dry my hands, and grab my cell phone, holding it away from my dripping face. I quickly open up the recorder, feverishly talking into the device to get all the details of my new idea down before I forget.
Wet and naked, I take a deep sigh of relief when I finish. The idea is in the bag. Now what?
Have you ever come up with a new invention or a new product, then found yourself not sure about what to do next? I come up with ideas all the time (usually in the shower), and I decided to talk to a pro about a good process to follow after my initial Eureka moments!
I called my friend, serial inventor Eric Huber. I asked to sit with him and chat in hopes to learn his process for bringing his inventions into reality (which he has done many times, check them out www.vonhuber.com).
The next time you find yourself with a great idea but no idea what to do next, follow the 5 D’s:
Describe, Discover, Debunk, Define, Decide.
1. Describe: With as much detail as possible, describe your idea. Write down notes, make sketches, and iron out the initial details of what it looks like and how it will work.
2. Discover: Do some serious research to see if your idea has already been described or created. Begin by performing the Google Trifecta.
a. Search Google Images based on any keywords that you can think to describe your new invention. Since we think in visual representations, using Google Images is a quick way to search if it exists. Plus it’s easier on the eyes and quicker to recognize.
b. Search Google using the main web search function. Pretend like you are trying to purchase your invention online, and use search terms you think you would use to find it.
c. Search Google Patents. Yes, just like Google Images, Google has a specific search engine for patents. You might not see it at first, but click the “more” option and it will appear. This is a great way to do the deep digging on your idea, especially if the prior two searches did not yield any results. As a note, only about 2% of patents are commercialized, so just because you do not see it in the marketplace, doesn’t mean it is free to pursue.
3. Debunk: Do your best to debunk your idea and think of all of the reasons that your product or idea will NOT work. Look at the results in Step 2. Is it already patented? What are the existing products that solve the problem? Is there a big enough market? Can it be manufactured (does it defy the laws of physics) at a cost and sold at a price that consumers will be willing to pay? Be creative and honest, focus on all the reasons why people would not want it and why it cannot be made.
4. Define: Think of who would buy your new invention and define the market. Do not assume that your invention serves everyone, because it does not! Talk with friends, family and other trusted people to see what they think about the idea. Ask them who they think would use it or buy it. Focus on what they think, and don’t try to sell the idea. Sometimes we are too close to our ideas to really see the forest through the trees. Gauge their honest reaction, and ask them many questions to really get an idea of who would need it, use it, buy it, etc.
5. Decide: Is the idea something you want to try to license, or some you want to try to form a business around? There are advantages to both, but an honest conversation with yourself about this topic is crucial. You need to really think about the above steps and determine if this is something that you want to license and have someone else do the heavy lifting, or if you want to do it all and pursue your new invention as the root of a new business. Know that both options will take time and money, and there are no guarantees that either will work. In fact, the odds are against you, and it will probably fail! But if you decide that you are passionate enough to bring your idea to the world, just decide if you want someone else to bring it or if you want to hand deliver it.
Filing provisional and full patents is something to worry about after you work through the 5 D’s! So start inventing, and stay tuned for another blog on the steps you must take to secure a patent and get your invention to market.
One side note for all of you tech inventors out there. If your idea is only tech based, like an app or actual code, you can still follow the same process, but understand that your code or technologies might be a challenge to protect. But challenges should excite you, because that is how we learn. If you have invented something purely technological, it is worth meeting with an Intellectual Property attorney to explore any and all ways that you might be able to protect your new brilliant idea. If you find that you can’t protect it, that just mean that you need to be first to market and run like the wind!
#5Ds #DDDDD #Describe #Discover #Debunk #Define #Decide