Invention ideas come about in lots of ways.
Often several people will invent the same thing at the same time. Why? Because something already exists that inspired the inventors. The Internet, for example, inspired the invention of social media sites. Facebook and Twitter are two inventions that exist because of the Internet.
The Slow Hunch
Some ideas need time to “cook”. Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, started thinking about how to organize files on his computer ten years before he actually invented the World Wide Web in 1989. He also invented HTML, the “language” of the WWW, and figured out how to give each website its own address. He then went on to create the first web browser.
Using Something Already Invented for a New Purpose
Many inventors use existing inventions for other purposes. In 1439, Johannes Guttenberg invented the first printing press after seeing a “screw press” (a wooden machine) crush grapes into juice to be used in wine making.
“Happy Accidents” are inventions or discoveries that are made when people least expect them. Many things we use and enjoy today came about this way. Velcro, Post-it Notes, ice cream cones, chocolate chip cookies, and even potato chips are a few examples!
The Eureka Moment
The “Eureka Moment” involves first being stuck on an idea and then relaxing the mind to let the solution surface. This can happen at the oddest times – in the bath, during a walk or even watching the clouds roll by. Scientist Albert Einstein was riding a bus when he came up with the idea of “special relativity” to solve a theory he had been working on for years about space and time.