I was recently privileged to interview Joe Casale, an industry professional who credits himself with having invented over twenty-one products. Before electing to work as an independent industrial designer, Joe spent a number of years working for major corporations, most notably in the toy industry. He’s also won innumerous awards – including the honor of having his product selected by Everyday Edisons in a former season.
I wanted to present to you some of Joe’s advice and experience, not only due to his Everyday Edisons success, but also because he’s an individual who has made it as a professional inventor. He’s rare.
Joe first began by describing what he terms the “blue sky” mentality. When he has a project to work on or a problem to solve, he stretches his creativity and imagination to the maximum. He avoids restrictions on his imagination and simply lets it fly. But he also states, “I keep my feet on the ground.”
Joe recognizes that although he conceives of an idea, he often times needs more than simply creativity and problem solving to bring a product to market. “Everyone has an idea,” he offers, “but the bottom line is that idea will have to be bottled and packaged.” It’s important to know when to seek professional help – you don’t have to, and you shouldn’t, try to accomplish every single aspect yourself. Rely on resources, connections, and expert knowledge.
The product selected by Everyday Edisons Joe designed is named the “Koku board”, an all-purpose cutting board. His idea was chosen among thirteen others from five to six thousand that auditioned. What was Joe’s secret?
Joe credits his success with “really understanding what the customer wanted.” He says that many other potential contestants made a crucial mistake. “ They don’t read what the customers want, or really try to understand what the problem is, what they’re looking for. I read and re-read the desires of a customer, or in this case, Everyday Edisons. I’m not going to give them something they don’t want.”
Joe presented to Everyday Edisons with a sketch only – a highly detailed sketch, albeit. He argues that you don’t necessarily need a prototype, but that above all, your presentation technique should be based on the very best way you can convey your idea. He has licensed to a variety of companies based on only sketches, but some ideas that seemed a little more unbelievable he actually created a working prototype for.
Listen to the audio provided for the full interview with Joe. Click Here.
You can catch Joe’s winning product, the Koku board, on QVC this Sunday, from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm. It is also available on the website kokuboard.com and sold in Bed Bath and Beyond.