Inventors come in many shapes, sizes and backgrounds but one characteristic they all have is a passion for great ideas. Ask any self-proclaimed inventor how many great product ideas they’ve stumbled across and the answer is sure to be more than one.
Some inventors act as the seed that leads to the growth of a new product or startup while other inventors are the perpetual tinkerers whose workshops resemble Santa’s minus the elves. In either case, the inventor has ideas that provide a solution to a problem. The more ideas they can think up to solve the problem, the better their shot at a good final solution. In my experience, putting more creative minds to work on the problem leads to far better solutions. Inventors are realizing this to, as Design 1st is seeing a huge increase in the number of inventors looking to hire a team to help them explore and define potential concepts.
This trend of an increased number of Inventors has been confirmed by a recent survey from Industry Canada:
A new survey for Industry Canada has found that almost 13 per cent of Canadians are so-called “private innovators,” who have improved on consumer goods or created new products in the past three years.
Here are a few reasons why we think Inventors are increasing in numbers:
Demographic Trends – The youth unemployment challenge sees bright minds with passion and creativity looking for ways to enjoy their time and increase their skills, given their job market alternatives are challenging. In addition, the influx of retirees has created more free time for people with many years of experience to tinker and follow their passions in areas they have become experts.
Lower Barriers to Entry – The ‘Maker’ movement puts prototyping abilities on your desktop empowering inventors to physically build their ideas. In Ottawa the Maker Movement buzz is growing, the Science and Tech museum in partnership with Ottawa based not-for-profit Art Engine are hosting their 3rd Annual “Ottawa Mini Maker Faire”(OMMF) this September. The event will feature workshops, innovation displays and inventions from some of Ottawa’s best and brightest “makers”.
Corporations want Ideas at Minimum Risk – Companies are tapping into inventors, reaching out to them rather than trying to dream up things with their internal staff. There is a wide difference between a creative design team sitting around trying to imagine new opportunities and people engaged in an activity daily who see the problem first hand. The new opportunities tend to come from someone who is immersed in an activity and sees the problem then goes after finding a better way. The corporate designers behind desks are better as the execution team once the idea for a solution surfaces as they have the expertise in making manufacturing decisions that will lead to a high quality robust and reliable product for market. The inventor is essential to the design team to be the voice of the customer as they resolve the details of the new product design working closely with the inventor.
Access to One-Stop Design and Engineering – Inventors will need help for all but the simplest of products. Help can come from manufacturers, DIY as well as for hire design teams. Expert independent design teams provide the opportunity for an inventor to design and develop product ideas without handing over the early control to established corporations. This increases the potential reward to the inventor as the farther along you are in a product development before engaging in idea transfer, the more leverage you have at the negotiating table.
Design 1st offers help to many innovators to commercialize their product ideas providing them everything they need from patent submissions to design, marketing and manufacturing specifications. This approach allows them to control the business direction from licensing to full production and sales.
With the increasing number of Canadian innovators and inventors, corporations are taking notice. A research paper led by MIT professor and author Eric von Hippel emphasizes this point stating:
“Companies will have to help their own product developers look at consumer-developed innovations with new eyes – not just as poorly engineered amateurish efforts,”
Approaching companies for licensing or distribution deals with a professional engineered and design product goes a long way. When inventors take the early R&D risk away from corporations, the corporations can make bets on more professionally thought through product ideas and the reward potential for both parties grows substantially. Inventors are becoming the incubators of good ideas and with professional support teams around them that speak the corporate language, they facilitate the product design process and everyone wins.
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