Everyone has their own unique way of developing ideas. Inspiration strikes each of us in different ways, at different times, and from different sources. How do you generate new ideas? I want to share my strategy with you.
I’ve made it my passion and my job to study our culture. What’s going on in the world? I’m constantly curious. I wonder. I know that preferences change and I want to understand, to put it simply, what people are doing and why they’re doing it. I do a number of different things to achieve this goal.
One of my favorite things to do is venture down to the mall. I sit down and I start watching. What are people wearing? What are they holding? What are they eating? What stores do they enter and how long do they stay there? What shoes are they wearing? I observe. I enjoy watching the world go by. And then I walk through the mall myself and stop in all these stores. I keep my mind open; it isn’t filled with a bunch of intentions or analysis – just observation. I spend the most time in stores that appeal to the markets I enjoy designing for, like teen and novelty gifts. I make note of what’s on the shelf. I take in the creativity. Knowing what’s already been done helps me to design something new.
I also enjoy designing for the packaging industry. Every Sunday, my wife and I go to the grocery store together. I’m sure she thinks I’m coming along to be helpful (and that’s true in part…) but I’m actually looking at all the packaging. How are the products on the shelf packaged? What could I do differently?
I regularly peruse local bookstores. I keep my finger on the pulse by reading a variety of magazines each week and several newly released books each month. I also watch a lot of television. What’s going on in the world? What issues are getting a lot of attention? What advertisements are shown? Some things make me laugh, some things make me unhappy, but they all keep me informed. If you keep your mind open, you’ll be amazed at the ideas that come flooding to you.
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.