Saturday, December 4, 2010

Invent like a five year old

I came across this article and realized that it was also great advice for inventors. They make five points. I use their headlines, but fill in the context myself. I strongly recommend reading the original if you are interested in photography.

1. Relax

Your creativity is going to tank if you are worrying about a bunch of unrelated matters. You want to think about the invention, worrying appropriately about the challenges the invention might face. Constantly worrying about something else will derail your creative process.

2. Get Curious

Kids don't know much, but their curiosity makes up for it. Imagine you normally work on data compression but in this case, you're working on minimizing data size for a nano-sized medical probe. Think like a kid "dude, check me out, I'm a doctor". "Cool, I get to play with this tiny robot". Enjoy the excitement about stepping into these roles, because it is the excitement decoupled from the practical concern (i.e. "is this too big a longshot to work?) that permits your best creative work.

3. Live In The Moment

From the original post: 'There’s an old Buddhist proverb: “Tomorrow is promised to no man.” Children tend not to ponder death or the future or the past or similar concepts as often as adults do. Kids live in the moment. They are a stream of consciousness. They aren’t concerned with much more than right now. This lets them more freely explore what’s in front of them without excess baggage.'

This was said quite well. Live in the moment. Remember, a patent is an exercise in writing future science books. Your invention, your writing, is an audition for the very small group of writings that we require all children to study. The field of "important writings" is a very crowded one, and the best way to get in is to not care if you get in. Instead, invent the best device you can. Flow with a stream of consciousness. Imagine, as you develop, that the hard and fast rules are actually flexible if done right. In order words, the fantasy and "everything is do-able" attitude of children is shared by many successful inventors.

4. Experiment

Experiment. Don't hurt anybody, but otherwise, no nuts. If it doesn't work, you don't want to file on it. More times than not, liberally experimenting strengthens your invention and inventive process.

5. Be Generous

Involve others who know the field. They may triple the value of the patent while getting maybe 50%, perhaps less.

No comments: