How Successful Inventors Sell Their Ideas

Dave is a full-time secondary school teacher. Every day he notices that the administrators at his school log dozens of student absences. He often discovers that the absences that he marks down and rings up to the office are not even tracked.

In the break room he hears the secretaries and other teachers complaining about the inefficient way that the school tracks student attendance. He’s shocked to find out that the attendance of the entire school gets manually entered into a document in a word processor! Dave is struck with a big idea after talking to the secretaries about the issue. Why not create a better way for the school system to track student attendance? A new software solution could drastically improve the process.

There’s just one problem for Dave – he isn’t a professional inventor. He’s a school teacher, after all. He doesn’t have the first clue about how to get his awesome new idea to market.

What makes a good idea for an invention?

Without even knowing it, Dave is well on his way to creating a successful new product. The best part is, he’s using his inside knowledge about the teaching industry, which is something that competing inventors may not know about. That gives his idea an advantage to succeed.

Another reason why Dave’s idea is great is because it solves a problem. Some inventors spend lots of time and money on market surveys to understand the needs of potential customers. Luckily, Dave can make observations at his own workplace and can talk directly with his target audience – school administrators.

What should Dave do to bring his idea to market?

Dave is on to something and thinks his idea could help others and be lucrative at the same time. Unfortunately, he has a career and family and doesn’t know whether he has enough spare time to see his new product idea get to market.

Despite his busy life, Dave spends his evenings and weekends doing market research to validate his idea. Dave’s background research teaches him about manufacturers and competitors in the software industry.

In his research he also searches for existing patents. Securing a patent is an important step for Dave and it could make or break his dream. Once he’s ready to file for a patent, he’ll need to enlist professional legal help.

After spending hours on extensive background research, Dave is at a breaking point. He now realizes all the work that’s needed to bring his idea to market. He decides to enter into a licensing agreement with a company that can help him build and sell the final software.

What’s a license?

A license is an agreement that an inventor, like Dave, can use to get an idea to market. The inventor sells the rights of an idea to a company that has the expertise to build, market and sell it as a product. The company takes over the manufacturing, shipping, marketing and some of the legal liability. The inventor is then paid in royalties of the sales.

What’s included in a licensing agreement?

A licensing agreement can get quite complicated and Dave learns all about it the hard way. He realizes that there are many aspects to an agreement, such as:

  • Advance payments;
  • Product exclusivity;
  • Confidentiality agreements;
  • Bonuses for milestone sales;
  • Legal liability taken over by the manufacturer;
  • Patent protection; and,
  • National and international distribution, among other things.

Dave’s attempts at negotiating these terms don’t go very well for him and he gets legal help to try to navigate the agreements. Dave is happy in his teaching career and doesn’t want to jeopardize it by taking on the risks that come from developing and selling the product himself.

That’s why getting the licensing agreement right is crucial for Dave since it can offload the legal and business risks to the partnering company. After all, Dave is trying to live the dream of a successful inventor in order to gain financial freedom, not lose it.

Unfortunately for Dave, he hasn’t made a prototype of his software product so he’s having trouble selling his idea to software companies. The whole process has left him stressed and overwhelmed and he doesn’t feel like he’s any closer to becoming an inventor.

The steps that inventors can take to sell their ideas:

Now that Dave took the first few steps toward inventing a new product, he reflects on the process as a whole. In his mind, the process should look like this:

  1. Draw on unique experience in an industry to create an idea that solves a problem.
  2. Do market research to find competitors, existing patents and market demand.
  3. Create a prototype to attract companies to enter into licensing agreements.
  4. Patent the idea once it proves to have potential.
  5. Enter into a licensing agreement with a company in order to produce, market and sell the product.
  6. Enjoy the royalties from the hard work!

The problem for Dave is that he doesn’t know whether he’s done the first few steps correctly. He’s also firmly stuck on step three.

Dave’s headaches can be dramatically reduced if he reconsiders his approach by enlisting the help of a product innovation expert.

How can Innovolo help Dave sell his idea?

Instead of taking on the risk of doing everything himself, Dave should get in touch with experienced product innovators. Experts like Innovolo can help Dave, and other budding inventors like him, take their brilliant ideas and sell them to companies – without all the headaches.

With the help of the Innovolation Framework, Dave can rest easy knowing that he’s covered through end-to-end innovation services – from ideation to product release.

In order to successfully sell his brilliant idea, the most important step that Dave can take is to enlist the help of Innovolo. He’ll be able to relax knowing that his most valuable asset – his idea – is in good hands. Most importantly, he’ll enjoy the peace of mind that comes from industry experts working on his behalf to make his dream come true.

 

Professor Michael Zaworotko, Bernal Chair of Crystal Engineering and Science Foundation of Ireland Research Professor at University of Limerick’s Bernal Institute, has developed the crystalline material after decades of research Pic Sean Curtin Photo.

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How Successful Inventors Sell Their Ideas

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