Sunday, June 19, 2011

How to become an inventor in 5 easy steps.

Popular mechanics has an article on how to become an inventor. Here's an outline:

Intro: Have a metaphorical light bulb go in your head.
Step 1: Cultivate an Idea.
Step 2: Build a Prototype.
Step 3: File a Patent.
Step 4: Test the Market.
Step 5: Sell it or Make it.

The article is a typical media combination of fact and fiction. For example, there's no evidence whatsoever that the proverbial light bulb went off in Edison's head when he came up with his real lightbulb design. Some people experience the Aha moment, some don't. There's no relationship between the intensity of personal experience and quality of an inventive idea.

Nevertheless, a certain patent-related statistics I found illuminating. One out of three patent applications is granted as a patent, with the number of commercially viable patents ranging from 0.2 to 5 percent. In other words, the most optimistic estimate of the overall system efficiency would be 5/3≈1.7%, which is comparable to the efficiency, or more accurately, the inefficiency of Newcomen's steam engine created in 1714.

The good news is the invention revolution is yet to come!

tags: psychology, media, invention, method, patents,

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