We’ve talked plenty about “how to invent”, but if you’re a creative problem-solver kinda person, your best path to success is to make sure you know “WHAT to invent” first.
See, most first time inventors are randomly struck with an idea, then do their best to get it out into the world. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. No invention is guaranteed to be succeed, but if you start with with the end in mind, you vastly improve your odds.
Here are the 6 Key Characteristics of a Great Invention:
1. Proven Category Focus your talents on a category that has many existing buyers who have a track record of buying the latest and the greatest. This is much less stressful than hoping there will be enough people who ‘get’ the problem you’re trying to solve. If you golf and also basket weave, channel your energies on the problems shared by the larger of the two groups because it’s better to have more competition than fewer customers.
2. High Value A successful invention is one that is purchased by lots of people. One of the best ways to do that is to convince them that it’s worth more than they are paying for it. The bigger and more painful the problem you are solving, the higher valuation people put on the solution.
3. High Margin A great invention should have a great return on investment, and the more profit available on each unit sold the better. A minimum ration for any new product is 1:5, which means make it for $1 and retail it for $5. High value and low cost give you more options to market and distribute, and profitable sales equal success.
4. Simple The best new ideas are completely obvious AFTER you see them the first time. As you finalize and improve your design, think about what you can remove rather than what else can you add on.
5. Consumable The only thing better than someone buying your product is when that same someone buys it over and over again. If possible and reasonable for your niche, try to create a product with a consumable, or refillable element. You don’t need to work so hard finding ‘new’ customers if you are creating customers for life.
6. More Better We all think our ideas are better than the competition, but better has a big sliding scale. Remarkably better should be your target, and this can be a combination of better price, better usability, better features or better styling. The more betters the better.
Take a look at this list and use it as a blueprint as you decide what to invent.
What else do you think makes a great idea a great invention? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.