Step By Step Invention Obstacles-1

For both good and bad, the unexpected is a big part of invention and certainly a big part of starting a new business venture. In fact, I find that invention and product design are primarily exercises in creative problem-solving.

It’s a curiosity that quite often, ideas that seem to be very simple can be surprisingly difficult when I get into the details.  While conversely, projects that appear complex initially can come together in a very simple and straightforward way.  In either case, perseverance and focus are necessary to create anything new.  When I encounter a problem, I don’t give up but I also don’t try to force a solution.  I prefer to set the problem aside and work on some other aspect of the project.  I have found that my mind works on things in the background and that invariably a solution will eventually present itself.

Also, in my experience, things that look like overwhelming problems can sometimes disappear by approaching them from a different angle.  Design or manufacturing limitations can spur innovation so that they can be overcome.  For instance, at the time I was developing my original Tool Card, good quality metal tweezers were not readily available at a low cost.  The Swiss had been making them for years as components in their pocket knives. But they were unlikely to be a willing source for me (athough I admit that I thought about asking.) However, I eventually decided that it should be possible to make a tweezer that was entirely injection molded.  To the best of my knowledge it had never been done before, but it worked! The result is the elegant and functional Zytel® tweezer in the original Credit Card Companion.