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How To Invent (Almost) Anything > Epilogue

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An epilogue is a kind of end piece, a completion marker. Although this is an epilogue for us, it is not for you. For now the journey really begins into invention, with all the excitement, frustration and joy that comes with it.

In a way, we have cheated you, and would like to offer a small apology. Why is this? Although we have covered a lot of territory, what we have missed out is the hardest part for all inventors: getting other people to agree that this is a good idea and hence to put their money into the idea, both initially for further development and also later for manufacturing and marketing. In today’s teeming world of commercialism, it can be surprising difficult to attract investment.

But then we have also given you the tools to attack this problem. The chapters on psychology are a rich source of ideas of how to persuade others. Consider their patterning thoughts: is the idea so new that they cannot fit it with their existing mental models? What about deep drivers? Find out what really motivates them and use this as a lever to open their wallets. Understand how they create meaning from what you present to them and hence change your presentations. And give them the arguments to tell themselves that you have a serious invention that will help them to achieve their deepest goals.

Just a Note of Caution

As you might be heading off to invent we want to give you a little note of caution about a few things which you may need to consider carefully before trying to be inventive. This is based on experience of working in these fields and dealing with companies who understand the issues.

Inventing for others

It is very attractive to think about being inventive with toys or devices for the disabled. But before you commit significant time, energy and money, check with the end users! Children are not the same as adults and you may find you have invented a great toy for adults which is of no interest to children. If the adult toy market is good then go ahead but if you think that it would be great for kids then check with the kids. Similarly with things to help disabled people: find out the problems they have first, then check back with your ideas to see if there are any shortcomings in your design.

Health and safety

If you are inventing something for children then you have to consider, and pass all kinds of tests, to make sure it is safe for children. Children will do all kinds of things to your toys, including totally taking them apart. If any bits are dangerous then you cannot and should not try to sell them. Safety testing is a very professional business and you will need expert help on this.

Food is another are where there is a big health and safety issue. People do all kinds of things to food and if you end up poisoning even one person you could be in serious trouble (and lots of ordinary food can be very poisonous if not treated properly).

Hostile environments

You will always want to consider the environment where your invention will be working, but we would just like to say that the sea (and maybe outer space) is one of the most hostile environments. Everything in the sea is out to get you. Not only will it hit things hard and again and again but it will also throw so many things at you to eat you, corrode you, and destroy you bit by bit!

Children, again, are excellent at taking apart toys and things in their environment, so be aware of the worst treatment your ideas will receive.

The main message is simple: You may be thinking of your invention in a nice predictable environment where your intuitive sense will suggest that all should work perfectly. But children and microbes are out to do their best to foil your plans.

So fare well and think on and do not let our note of caution dissuade you from contributing your ideas to the world. We believe that invention is the best fun you can have. Period.


Dave and Graham

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