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Article Title:
Four Ways to Get Your Invention Unstuck

Article Description:
Is your invention stuck? Here's four ways to Getting Resolution, 
Gearing Up, and Moving Forward.

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1093 Words; formatted to 65 Characters per Line
Distribution Date and Time: Tue Mar  7 00:29:27 EST 2006

Written By:     Matthew Yubas
Copyright:      2006
Contact Email:  mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED]

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Four Ways to Get Your Invention Unstuck
Copyright © 2006 Matthew Yubas
Product Coach

Is your invention stuck? Here's four ways to Getting Resolution, 
Gearing Up, and Moving Forward.

Melissa (not her real name) has been working on her invention for 
over three and a half years. It's not a complicated invention, 
but she's not making any real progress. She says that she's 
uncomfortable doing the market research, has uncertainty about 
getting a prototype made, and isn't sure of the manufacturing 
process. These are common obstacles that all inventors must get 
past. Some inventors get past these hurdles relatively quickly, 
while others seem to linger in the early stages.

On the surface it appears that Melissa is entrenched in the 
technical details. But in reality there's probably something 
deeper going on.

Four Causes of Being Stuck

In general, inventors get stuck for one of four reasons: 1) fear 
of failure, 2) fear of success, 3) being in a state of diversion, 
or 4) lack of a roadmap. If you're stuck, do you know the reason?

Often is the case that inventors personalize their invention with 
themselves. The invention is your baby, or a reflection of 
yourself. If the product doesn't sell or people comment 
negatively, then you might take this too personally as if you're 
a failure. These fears will only keep you in the continuous loop 
of thinking, planning, and tinkering over and over again, which 
keeps the invention stuck.

The second reason for being stuck might be the fear of success. 
While on the surface, many inventors dream of being rich and 
famous, but we may perhaps have some deeper concerns. As a future 
famous inventor, you might be required to make public 
appearances, be in the limelight, or "forced" to do marketing and 
selling, instead of enjoying the creative part of inventing. And 
not only that, the pressure will be on to make the next great 
invention. While success is the promised land, it's also a 
territory of unfamiliarity and uncertainty. If you find yourself 
prolonging the research phase, repeating earlier activities, or 
not setting deadlines, fear of success might be the cause.

The third reason for being stuck is the desire to be in a state 
of diversion. Inventing is a soothing escape to get away from the 
daily demands of life and responsibilities. While inventing, 
you're in a safe environment that you control. You either tinker 
with an idea for years, or move from idea to idea. Sam, an 
inventor friend, has a notebook full of ideas. He has no 
intention of marketing them, but enjoys the challenge of figuring 
things out. Sam says he's a collector, and in his case, it's 
product ideas. He's not really stuck. He just likes to exercise 
his brain. But, an inventor is stuck if there's a conflict in 
which a state of diversion, and getting a product to market, are 
both desirable.

The fourth reason for being stuck is a lack of the roadmap of the 
steps to get to market. Imagine you were to take a trip driving 
across the country. And suppose you didn't have a roadmap. You 
would likely take wrong turns, backtrack, and zigzag your way 
across the country, assuming you even make it. That's the same 
with inventing. Without a roadmap, you'll likely be spinning your 
wheels in place.

In some cases, it's a mix of these fears and uncertainties. As 
with any major undertaking, there's some apprehension in not 
knowing what lies ahead.

Getting Resolution, Gearing Up, and Moving Forward

For fear of failure, a few simple remedies can help. First, 
disconnect you from the invention. You need to de-personalize 
your relation to the invention. If you receive negative feedback, 
it's not a sign of personal failure. It's a lesson of experience. 
I heard a speech by Garry Ridge, CEO of WD-40 discuss this issue. 
When something does not turn out well, the experience is reframed 
as a "learning moment." They do this as a way to drive out the 
fear of making mistakes within the organization.

Also, move the focus away from yourself and on to the people who 
will benefit from your new idea. Instead of dwelling on your 
fears, shift your attention and visualize the people that will 
benefit most from using your product. Imagine getting letters 
from people, thanking you for making their lives better. When 
writing my book Product Idea to Product Success, I was scared 
stiff that people would hate it. By getting positive feedback 
with initial drafts, and changing my center of attention to 
helping others, I was able to move forward.

If you have identified fear of success as a potential problem, 
there are ways to overcome this. The thought that success will 
bring on new responsibilities that you can't handle is not 
necessarily true. Going through the invention process, and 
getting a product in the market, will strengthen and empower you 
along the way. To get there, make a list of all the steps to 
complete the product. Then focus your attention on the current 
tasks at hand, rather than what could happen in the future.

Inventing as a state of diversion is OK, as long as you're clear 
on your goals. If you're not seeking financial rewards from your 
ideas, then tinkering with inventions is a great hobby to pursue. 
But at some point if you really want to test market your ideas, 
spend some of your time learning other aspects of inventing such 
as marketing and product development.


Think in terms of degrees of success rather than all or nothing. 
Making millions of dollars is a tough standard to set for your 
invention. Completing a product is a success itself. Maybe your 
first invention sells a hundred units, then an improved version 
sells a thousand, and more the next time. Being creative you're 
likely to come up with new inventions that are better and more 
marketable. Few successes are made overnight.

If you're spending many months or years on an idea and not making 
any real progress, you're either dealing with fears, lacking a 
roadmap to follow, or a combination of these. The formula for 
invention success is a mix of creativity, knowledge of 
development and marketing (Market-Step process), having the 
mindset to take risks (even small ones), willingness to learn 
from mistakes (rather than quitting), and the right timing in the 
market. You don't have to struggle with this alone. Get 
assistance from people who have gone through the invention 
process before. And, most importantly, look at what might be 
holding you back, and resolve those issues first, then move 
forward one step at a time.

Matthew Yubas is a Certified Professional Marketing Consultant 
for the Small Business Development and International Trade 
Center. He has earned a B.S. in Engineering and an M.B.A. 
in Management. Articles, tips, coaching, and his Invention 
Success Kit are available at



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