I’ve often talked about how even the most simple of ideas can be wildly successful. Being creative doesn’t demand you reshape the world! There are a variety of easy techniques to use, but essentially, you need to look at problems and products in different and new ways. Looking at anything from a new perspective means turning it upside down and inside out and all around. But first, it’s necessary to break down the product before doing so.
What does breaking down a product or idea mean? You need to reduce a product or idea into its essential parts. For example, years ago, I developed a product called “The Michael Jordan Wall Ball”. It was a children’s basketball toy. I noticed that all components of popular children’s basketball games shared several things in common. They all possessed a square backboard, a circular rim, and a ball – standard.
So I began. Did that backboard need to be square? Could I change the shape? What shape could it be? I began brainstorming. Could be an image of a hippo or Michael Jordan. Did the rim need to be circular and plain? Could I make it part of someone or something’s mouth? After breaking the product down into separate functional parts, it became much easier to see other possibilities. I manipulated each element, playing “What if?” games with it. Put those pieces back together in new ways. Could I put sound with the game? Make it smaller or larger? What if the ball was shaped differently, or not a typical ball at all.
Being creative is about producing variation. And often, it’s easier to see how things could vary when you break them down.
Stephen Key is a successful award-winning inventor who has licensed
over 20 products in the past 30 years. Along with business partner
Andrew Krauss, Stephen runs inventRight,
a company dedicated to educating inventors about selling their ideas
and the skills needed to succeed. You can listen to the weekly radio show on inventing. Get In The News, list your invention to have media outlets find you for news stories.