Posts Tagged ‘inventor’

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Cross-train your brain

January 18, 2009

datastreamIf you’re going to run a marathon, or participate in any sporting activity, most experts agree that cross-training is important to improve your overall fitness. Focusing too hard on one set of muscles leaves other muscles weak and prime candidates for injury. As an engineer, focusing too hard on a small skill-set may leave other parts of your brain starving for stimulation.

The internet is FULL of great content. Let your brain do some cross-training by expanding your input stream. Instead of listening to another webinar on the features of the next Solidworks release, maybe you want to stretch out and listen to an interview with Seth Godin on marketing your small business or check up on the state of innovation in the medical device industry for 2009. Not only will you have new things to talk about at dinner parties, but you might learn something related to your everyday.

Who/what are you paying attention to? Please share in the comments.

Photo credit: Rodolfo Clix

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That one great idea

December 15, 2008

As engineering consultants, we are approached by a lot of inventors that are looking to sell their great idea. Frequently, it’s novel, but sometimes, it’s an improvement on a product already on the market. Often, it involves some modification to a toilet seat because, let’s face it, that’s the only time many people have to just stop and think.

The issue is that it’s not terribly easy to get a meeting with the NPD people at Bemis Mfg.

We tell inventors that presenting intellectual property (IP) and a functioning prototype goes a long way toward selling an idea, particularly in the device market where we operate. The more risk you’ve driven out of the final product, the more value you’ve added. However, if you’ve proven the concept, shown some efficacy, or (DING! DING! DING!) commercialized a product and made a few bucks you have a much better shot at getting a meeting.

As Seth Godin pointed out, getting that meeting is only half the job. You still have to sell the idea. However, if it was a good enough idea to convince you to invest your own time and money, maybe it’s not that hard.