You had a market in mind when you developed your idea but have you spent any time considering what other applications their might be for your idea?
Just because your idea is novel and inventive and could be patented does not mean that it should. Getting a patent granted and maintaining that patent over its lifetime is very expensive. Therefore you need to ensure that there is a good chance of making enough money to at least cover the costs before drafting a patent and getting your idea transformed into a design and then a product.
The first step in this process is to brainstorm your idea to identify all possible applications for your idea. You may have developed your idea to solve one particular problem but that does not mean that there are not other applications for the technology developed from your idea.
A famous example of diverse applications of a new technology is the drug Viagra. Originally developed to treat high blood pressure, clinical studies found that it wasn’t that effective but had a side-effect for male volunteers that saw the drug rebranded as a treatment for erectile dysfunction.
If you were lucky enough to patent the wheel and axle, for example, then through your one single patent you could develop:
And this is just some of the possible applications. We would have an awful lot of great technology to thank you for!
The wheel and axle is a good example of platform technology, which is a term for technology that enables innovative products to be developed in the present and in the future by incorporating the enabling technology into their functionality.
It may also help you to practice brainstorming by taking an established technology such as radio frequency identification and thinking of potential applications and seeing how many of your applications you get correct and if they missed any opportunities that you came up with.
You can also look at how companies like Lego take one invention and diversify it by developing different themes and styles so Lego can be marketed for babies, boys, girls and adults but still holds its integrity through ensuring that bricks developed in 1958 are still compatible with bricks made today.
Once you have developed these skills then you can improve the chances of your ideas being successful by finding multiple applications and expanding the potential market.
List the potential market applications that you came up with from your brainstorming sessions in your market evaluation template.
September 4, 2012