I have been asked several times about how I come up with ideas for a product. So I will go through what works for me. I don’t have any magic formula or think that I am very smart but I do know I am persistent. So my best advice may be to just be persistent. But that is too simple, right? Ok, well here is what else I do. I fix a problem. But how do I get ideas for problems? And what kind of problem? Well….
#1. Start, that is, start with something, anything. Get going, make the most simple form of whatever you are trying to create. By doing this, you will then have something to work from. Imagine that you want to fix a problem with a car. Well I might start with a block of wood and screw buttons on as tires on it. You now have a car, then you can add or subtract something, anything to get it to change or improve. Add some shape, cut off some of the corners of the block, add a scoop on the back angle the front, put a frame around the door, etc…keep going from there.
#2. Try some really dumb things on it, put the driver in the back with cameras only. Add a bed compartment. See if something starts to look cool. Add more or take away something.
#3 Try different sizes. Do all tires need to be the same diameter? What can the tires be made out of? Etc..keep adding and subtracting.
#4 Let it sit, stare at it for days weeks or months and see if anything else comes to mind.
#5 Take all you have on the first one that you like and start another prototype. You are now starting at a higher level. Now add, subtract, make things larger, smaller, more curves, less curves, etc.
#6 Repeat and eventually you will have something cool.
#7. If you want to add something new mechanically, try it…then figure out how to do it later. For instance, you want the door to open when you touch the back left fender. Pretend its there or put a button there, then if you like the way it looks and want to keep it, figure out how to get it to work. If you don’t like that feature move on to another crazy idea.
#8 If I think this could be a cool project or product or design, I will usually set up some parameters…Maybe by making this car, I found the problem: I thought about my grandmother who couldn’t get in and out of the passenger seat too easily. I could help her, but if my mom took her out, it was always a struggle. So I am going to find a way that my grandmother can get in and out of car easily by herself.
Parameters for the project:
Project: Car with seat that is easy to get in and out of.
It must be safe, sturdy and dependable.
It can’t be more than $…….
It needs to be compatible with most cars (maybe all 4 door cars, or all Honda accords and buicks or?)
It needs to be easy to operate and easy to install.
After having these parameters, start…mock up a seat, either a drawing or a model made out of whatever, even cardboard…just start. Make it look like you would like to see it in a car, round the edges, make it bigger, smaller , don’t worry about too much other than start and then gradually change things…eventually you will get something.
If this something is good keep going, if it is stupid, ugly or you decide to hold for a while, start the next project. Come back to this and eventually you will have something.
I haven’t mentioned the internet, but at some point I may google seats , but not car seats, I would google hospital or dr seats. I would look at any industry where seats and safety and comfort are needed and see what is out there. Maybe part of something you see will inspire you to head in a different direction. Go there but make it your own add your own changes additions and subtractions.If you can draw using a CAD system, that is very helpful, if not, once you have the basic idea, work with a CAD designer and have it drawn up.
Keep doing this, do it with many different projects, don’t fall in love with one to the point of never completing it. Get it done, then improve the next prototype, maybe have some 3d printed parts made or have some machined if you are getting serious. like most things, you will get frustrated and think it is dumb or ugly, but keep chipping away and eventually you will have something worth showing others and you will end up with a product if you are persistent….did I say persistence…persistence…yes that is the key.