“Genius is the ability to reduce the complicated to the simple.”
-C. W. Ceran
We’ve all heard it one time or another – the KISS method. What does KISS stand for?
In recent Inventing 101 posts, we have been highlighting the characteristics of great invention ideas – mass market appeal, strong “better than” argument, cost effective, functionality, usability. One of the most important criteria for a great invention idea that can influence all these characteristics is SIMPLICITY.
Before we dive in, let’s take a moment to (digitally) stroll through history…
According to TheRichest.com, the 10 simple ideas which yielded millions included:
The Hula Hoop
The Post-it note
Kellogg’s Corn Flakes
Whether or not you agree, you’ve heard of these invention ideas right? They’re in many different categories, but they all have one thing in common – they are all ridiculously simple…
A Band-Aid is an adhesive bandage to protect cuts.
A Slinky is a spring toy that goes down stairs on its own.
A Post-it is a piece of paper with a reusable adhesive.
Does this mean your idea for the next type of rocket engine is thwarted? No.
What it means is once you have come up with your idea, as you finalize and improve your design, think about what you can remove rather than what else you can add on. Take previous criteria we have already discussed into consideration. Does the fifth attachment to a hand tool really help increase functionality for the user or does it just drive up cost and affect overall usability of the idea?
The partner companies the Edison Nation Licensing Team pitches see hundreds of new product ideas per month. They’ve been there, seen that. They decide in a couple minutes, max, whether a product idea is worth their time, research and money. When the Licensing Team starts to pitch your invention idea, they work to create a simple, effective pitch to give your idea the best chance at success.
So where can YOU simplify to help? Start with the submission form…
Richard Branson once said, “Complexity is your enemy. Any fool can make something complicated. It is hard to make something simple.”
Your submission is the “elevator pitch” for your product idea.
Look at your idea, simplify it as much as you can, then carry that simplicity over into your submission form. The “Description” field within the submission form has a limit of 500 characters. Ensure your explanation of the product is easily understood, clearly and concisely explaining the product’s benefits. When completing your description, avoid using terms that only you know the meaning of. If you have a degree in plastics don’t assume the people reviewing your idea have a degree in plastics, too. You want your pitch to be something anyone reading can quickly understand and see its advantages and benefits. You don’t want them to have to have a translator to make sense of your pitch.
When you attach videos, pictures or other materials, make sure it fits the search submission and be sure that is not repetitive information. For example, you do not need to attach copies of your patent if you have already put the patent number in the proper field on the form. Don’t attach 35 separate slides when you know that 3-5 will do. Pick your best pictures or video and make sure videos are about the product and showcase the product. A large number of videos we receive are 15 minutes or more in length and only two of those minutes are actually about the product – that is 13 extra minutes of a reviewer’s time that is not being used effectively. A good rule of thumb is to keep videos under two minutes.
Keep your description and answers within the submission form focused on how your idea will impact the customer’s life for the better. An example is Apple. Rather than focusing on the amount of memory on their latest Macbook, Apple focuses their pitch on how it is the lightest, most compact Macbook ever. Why? Because its size and weight are personal benefits that are simple for every potential customer to understand.
Remember, over-complicating can potentially deter the best idea. While it can be overwhelming to simplify, start small, making one focused change. The good news? Our Open Search is available 24/7, and you can take your time in submitting an idea. Remember, you can save your ideas in the system. All you need to do is click Save at the bottom of the submission screen you are on.
An expert tip is to put placeholder content in the remaining fields, allowing you to save your work – when you log back into Edison Nation to complete your idea, you can find it saved under Ideas on your Dashboard.
Remember, keep it simple and Happy Inventing!