The perfect invention – patent like a genius

Posted by Sophie Langer on 11 Aug 2020
Sophie Langer
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Effective invention is all about resolving unmet needs. Right?

1115 A Patent creekWhy is it so difficult? Why aren’t more people successful? Many people feel paralysed by the existence of patents and IP – trying to tread a pathway that is untrodden and avoiding the corpses of products-past that litter the way. Even if you come up with the perfect invention, the icing on the cake, the culmination of something great (and usually a lot of work,) that perfectly resolves a need…in current times, this still may not be enough. In the blink of an eye, something will change and hey presto, your carefully perfected solution is no longer ideal, and a competitor comes up with a new idea that leapfrogs you... Back to the drawing board.

Should you give up? No! Just take a step back…

Sometimes you just need to look at the situation differently. For one thing, it’s not always necessary to find something completely unique. A lot of what TRIZ teaches is about how it is unnecessary to reinvent the wheel. You don’t have to start from scratch. Use what is already known in the world, what has already been done in other fields, to improve yours. A famous example is James Dyson being inspired by cyclone technology that he noticed being used in a sawmill, which helped him to create his bagless vacuum cleaner. He claims it was a spark of genius at the time, but TRIZ teaches you how to reach the same result quicker and more systematically. You can learn to think like a genius.

Sometimes, you can be so close to your work that you can’t see solutions that are glaringly obvious, or perhaps they are hidden, but you don’t even know you need to look for them. On many occasions we have worked with teams who have had EUREKA! moments and then wondered how on earth they missed it in the first place… often because they were looking for the wrong thing – fixed on a particular function rather than the actual problem, or looking for the right thing in the wrong place. TRIZ looks at the bigger picture and helps you to see everything more clearly. People have described the feeling when they start using TRIZ as ‘turning the lights on.’

The ‘Founding Father’ of TRIZ – Genrich Altshuller, a Soviet engineer, inventor, and writer took huge amounts of data on patents over a long period of time, from all over the world, for all disciplines - and boiled them down into a set of highly functional tools and processes. These form the foundation of TRIZ.

0621 B Crystal ballThanks to Altshuller, you no longer need a crystal ball to see the future - you can use TRIZ Trends to see how products have evolved in other areas and apply that existing knowledge to your own work. You no longer need to rely on sparks of genius from intense brainstorming sessions to innovate - you can use the TRIZ approach for structured innovation. You can achieve your ideal solution, even if the things you want seem to contradict each other.

The best part? You can get started online in just 10 hours with Oxford TRIZ Live.

Don’t take our word for it – read about Sanofi and how they went from six patents a year to 276 and increased sales from $1.5b to $6b in six years – just by adding TRIZ.

Topics: Patent development, innovation, OxfordTRIZLive, Invention