I constantly write about the power of “small” ideas. Most people don’t understand that they don’t need to reinvent the wheel to earn money from their ideas. You don’t need to have a degree in engineering. You don’t need to understand how to write HTML code. You have to be observant and you have to be creative. Everyday we encounter small annoyances and inconveniences. How can we make people’s lives better? I have an example to illustrate my point.
Several days ago, I went to Starbucks with my wife. As she ordered a drink, I noticed a display of smaller-than-normal sized gift cards. These gift cards had a small circular hole that would allow one to place the card on their keychain. Voila! Never lose or misplace another gift card again. I understood the idea. And I’ve noticed these gift cards in many other places. But, I pondered, many Starbucks stores have a drive-thru. Someone that used that size gift card would have to turn off their engine to hand their keys to a store employee. That’s inconvenient. My wife recommended that one simply cut into the gift card to make it easier to remove. My daughter rolled her eyes and recommended that I simply walk into the store.
But neither of these responses reflects how an inventor would approach the situation. A small change in design could make these gift cards easily removed and placed back onto one’s keychain. This “problem” may seem small, but imagine approaching Starbucks (or another retailer) with the idea. It improves a product they’re already selling. They’d be inquisitive, if nothing else. Do you know how many of these gift cards are in existence? So many! The idea may be remarkably simple, but it fulfills all the requirements of a good idea: it identifies a problem in the marketplace and provides a solution. Can it be easily manufactured? I’m not sure, but it’s worth investigating!
I hope this gives my readers a better understanding of what I mean when I write about the power of small, simple ideas. Don’t underestimate them.
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.