Igniting Innovation: Tips, Sparks and Ideas for Acting on Innovation

3 Places for Free Idea Starters

Posted by David Lafkas on Jul 7, 2016, 10:00:00 AM

Having an innovation block?  Need to kickstart a project?  Here’s three places I go to get out of an idea rut to jump start my mental processes.3 Idea Starters

  1. Patent Databases.  Did you know that they are not just for attorneys or inventors?  Are recipe books only for top chefs?  Like recipe books, patents tell you how to make inventions.  And if you search the older patents, you can find some inventions that you are free to copy EXACTLY as the patent outlines.  Or, if you want to be more savvy, find those older free-to-copy patents and improve them and protect that improvement for yourself. 
  2. Internet.  Come on, we all take mental breaks and do it.  How else did you even come across this blog site in the first place?  Internet surfing can help with boredom or the need to shake up the mental cogs a bit, but it can also be used to find stimulus for improving your product or service.  And the stimulus doesn’t need to be directly on point to your field of expertise.  Often it is the unrelated stimulus that sparks ideas that are more unique for solving your customer’s problems. 
  3. Point of Sale.  How often do you actually go and talk to the end-user of your product or service?  How about even watching how they use your product or service?  Do they actually follow the instructions included with your product?  Do you even know what are the real issues that need to be solved for your customer, or are you keeping yourself at a safe distance from them so you don’t need to learn? 

There is one point I want to add to each of the above idea starters; they are all free.  You don’t need to pay a lawyer to search for patents for you.  You don’t need a fancy research group to talk to customers for you.  And even if you don’t want to directly pay for Internet usage, you can go to your local library and get on the Internet for free. 

So, next time you need to kickstart an idea with new stimulus, consider these three places as a starting point.

And when you create an idea worth retaining, check out using a Yellow Card as an ideal idea capturing system.

Download Yellow Card App


Topics: Create, stimulus mining, Patents

David Lafkas

Written by David Lafkas

David is Eureka! Ranch’s legal eagle, or more traditionally our patent and trademark authority, not only serving as in-house counsel at Eureka! Ranch, but also evangelizing on the importance of patents in today’s world of innovation to stay ahead of your competition. As an Innovation Engineering Black Belt, David has helped numerous companies develop patentable new products and services. Most recently, he’s supported High Liner Foods in Canada and the US on their comprehensive journey to achieve a culture of innovation as they not only create breakthrough seafood ideas, but also broadly educate employees and implement systems driven innovation across the corporation. David received a biomedical engineering degree from the Rose Hulman Institute of Technology and his juris doctorate from the University of Cincinnati College of Law, the 4th oldest law school in the country. He lives in Cincinnati with his rescue dog, Chauncey.

Welcome to the first blog from the Eureka! Ranch and Innovation Engineering Institute team.  Here you will find a diverse group of innovators dedicated to changing the world by transforming innovation from a random gamble to a reliable system that delivers increased innovation speed and decreased risk.


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