In recent blog posts, I have described a variety of reasons why inventors often fail. So now, let’s look at reasons why inventors succeed.

Today’s topic: Key to Inventor Success – Keep it Simple

The KISS principle very much applies to inventing. But, being the creative types we inventors are, we are drawn to the complex and exotic just as insects are to a light at night – often, like the bugs, we end up getting zapped.

When I was designing my new cat toy (my second product), I laid out detailed drawings for a rather complex product with unique interlocking halves that would not require screws to secure them. I initially envisioned the screws as adding expense and complexity to the product, but my unique design for the two interlocking halves would be much more complex to manufacture than the screws I hoped to eliminate.

I approached a designer in China and told him I intended to have a prototype created with a 3D printer, he asked simply, “why?” Then he described to me that he could very easily create a prototype with the key elements I needed without the expense or complexity of 3D printing. In the end, his approach was vastly simpler, less expensive to manufacture and would, therefore have a much better profit margin – an extremely important consideration for success.

In the end, simpler was better, less expensive and made more sense. But, I had to override my natural inventor’s tendency to create something exotic and “perfect.”

A second key point here is that I was well served by compromising a bit to provide a better product as a result.

I suggest that, as you begin to conceive and design a new product, critique every aspect and feature of your envisioned product and ask yourself:

  • How essential is this feature to the functionality of the product?
  • Will consumers find this feature of clear and obvious value and benefit?
  • Will the cost of including this feature outweigh any perceived benefits to functionality?

If you cannot answer affirmatively to the above critiques, then the feature should not be included.

Keep it simple!

Stay tuned!