There are far more patents than viable products in our world. Why is that? Usually it is because the inventor wanted to create something. Perhaps even to solve a problem he or she was experiencing. What makes an invention really take off is when it solves a problem for somebody else (preferably, for a number of somebodies). How can you validate whether someone else is having the same problem?
- Define the problem solved by your invention. (Can’t? Proceed with caution).
- Done? Look for others who are having that problem.
- Find out if it is serious enough that they are trying to solve it.
- Make sure the reason they are using a competitive solution is because they believe they have the same problem as you do. (Management Thinker Clay Christensen says to ask them what job they trying to get done by using that product or service).
- Compare your solution to theirs. Is it easier? Cheaper? Faster? More reliable? You may be on the right track. Keep validating your idea with real customers. It’ll save you a lot of real failures if you fail at the drawing board.
Got a customer, contact, or colleague with a problem they’re trying to solve? Your idea may be the invention they need.
Megann and Steve