The invention process includes many steps necessary to develop, produce and sell your idea.

invention process

Often things that don’t work well motivate many people to invent. What if your pencil keeps slipping out of your hand? Could you invent a better pencil, one that stays put? If you think you can, then, this is how to do it.

1) Figure Out the Problem
Figure out where the problem lies. Is the pencil too narrow? Is the paint on the outside too slippery? Think about what might improve the pencil so the problem you are experiencing is erased (no pun intended). Write your ideas down in a notebook.

2) Do Your Research
Gather as much information as possible on the problem. For example, are pencils made narrow to save on the amount of wood used in their construction? The more you know about how a pencil is made, the better the solution. If you would like to sell your pencil invention, ask friends and family if they would buy it, and how much they’d be willing to pay for it.

3) Check if the Problem Already Has a Solution
Go to your country’s Patent Office website (in Canada, the Canadian Intellectual Property Office) to do a search of patents to find out if someone has already invented a solution to the problem you have identified. If an invention for an improved pencil already exists, you can design something that you think will work even better to solve the problem.

4) Decide What You Want Your Invention to Do
Figure out what will make your invention special, and the characteristics in the final design that will enable the invention to do what you want it to do. For example, a new style of pencil with ridges may be easier to hold, or a fatter pencil might be easier to find in a pencil box. Number the characteristics in order of importance. Focus on figuring out the highest ranking ones first.

5) Let Your Imagination Go
Brainstorm as many ideas to solve the problem of as possible. Next, turn these ideas into designs. Draw them in your notebook. No matter how bizarre or unrealistic a design may seem, make sure to make sure to include it. Although a design may seem impossible, it might inspire a realistic solution.

6) Narrow Down Your Ideas
Analyze your designs based on how much it will cost to make, how easy it will be to make, and how many people you think will like it. Choose the design that you think will give you the best results. Next, prepare working drawings. Working drawings show 2-3 different views of your invention idea. Draw the views to scale, and write the actual dimensions on the image. Also, think about the materials you will be using in your invention’s construction.

7) Make One
Make a prototype (model) based on your working drawings. Figure out how you can use existing materials that you may already have for the prototype. Once you’ve completed your prototype, experiment with it.

8) Give Your Invention a Name
Have fun. You can name it to describe what the invention does – like “Chubby Pencil”, or name it after yourself, a friend, your mom, or you can just make the name up. Make it memorable.

9) Potect Your Idea
Patents and trademarks are granted by the government, and give owners the right to be the only maker and seller of the invention for a specific time period. Avoid patenting an invention until you know that you will be able to sell it since it costs a lot of money to apply for a patent.

10) Fine Tune It
Perfect the look of the invention. Often, inventors may need to find a specialist like an industrial designer to help them do this.

11) Money
If you think that your invention is going to be a hit, it will cost a lot of money to get it ready for future sales. Check out banks for assistance, ask your family or friends if they would like to invest in your invention, shake out all the change in your piggy bank.

12) Manufacture Your Invention
Figure out how best to manufacture the invention. Does it have to be made in a factory? Manufacturing involves taking the working drawings, and using them to produce a large quantity of the invention.

13) Find Customers
After all your hard work, you want to make sure your invention has customers. This stage is called “Branding and Marketing” which includes designing an attractive package, creating advertising, talking to store buyers and potential customers, placing advertisements in newspapers, and more!