Category Archives: Innovation Searches

Q-and-A with Swing-N-Slide

A little while ago, we asked for your questions about the current Swing-N-Slide Live Product Search for residential playground innovations, which closes on April 11.  Our counterpart over at Swing-N-Slide not only welcomed your questions, but he also recently welcomed twins! Without further ado, and we apologize for our delay, please find the below Q-and-A session with Swing-N-Slide, a Playcore company.

What made you decide to partner with Edison Nation?

Edison Nation provides access to an inventor community. We are aggressively seeking marketable concepts to integrate into future product designs.

Can the dimensions posted (108” length and 165” length & height combined) be round, oblong or abstract in shape?

Yes.  All concepts should be mindful of the retail space available and shipping costs for the packaging of a new product.

Cooperative play is mentioned; does it mean you favor this type of play over individual play?

Both are important. Cooperative play does assume that more children can be pulled into the environment. In the marketing of concepts, cooperative play has significant value.

You mentioned the targeted consumer as “parents of small children.”  When you say “small children,” how small do you mean?  Two to five year olds?  Five to 10 year olds?

From age two up to 10 years old.

You mentioned you’re interested in innovative building materials including improved plastics, metals or wood substitutes.  Is Swing-N-Slide steering away from wood?

Not necessarily. We predominately use wood today. We are seeking advancements in costs, assembly, nesting/shipping, and material life that will put us ahead of the current

One of inventors mentioned he had a concept that was for children’s outdoor use, but not necessarily a playground-type innovation.  Would you be willing to accept ideas slightly outside the search guidelines?

Yes. As long it promotes play.

One of our inventors noted that his idea is still very conceptual; are you willing to consider ideas that are in the very primary stages of ideation?

Yes. As long it meets the guidelines for negotiating a business arrangement for Swing N Slide to market.

Do you have ideas for those non-parent inventors looking for inspiration?

Obviously, all inventors were children who have played at some time. Look back to your childhood and think about what is missing in today’s playground landscape. A visit to a local park or recreational center where children play may spark ideas.

Lastly, a Google search and study of today’s play products may trigger ideas for innovation. I suspect that there are many inventor innovations from non-related industries that would add value to play sets and accessories.

Your Live Product Search Questions Answered: Q&A with Sure Fit

A few weeks ago, we gave you the opportunity to submit questions for Sure Fit about their Live Product Search for covering innovations. Earlier this week, we touched base with a representative from Sure Fit for an insightful Q & A session, learning more about their business and gaining helpful pointers for submitting to their search.

Q1. What made you decide to partner with Edison Nation?

A1. We want to be a leader in innovative product design as it relates to the slipcover business.   We want to expand our current product line to include new categories and markets while maintaining our reputation as a solution-oriented, “covering” business.

Q2. One of our inventors noted that his idea is still very conceptual; are you willing to consider ideas that are in the very primary stages of ideation?

A2. Yes… It is our job to finalize quality, spec/fit, workmanship, technical testing, etc.  to ensure that product is compliant.  Since our strength is engineering, a conceptual idea is acceptable.

Q3. About “technical improvements to slipcovers (e.g. fit, look or maintenance enhancements).” Could you elaborate more about the “look” aspect? Are you looking for a particular trend in design, materials or colors?

A3. We are not looking for a particular trend in design or materials.  We are open in this arena.

  • We do want easy care.
  • We do want product that will fit in our price structure.  ($59.99- $159.99)
  • We do not want product that needs to be customized (e.g. monogramming).

Q4. Are you open to edgy new prints and designs in fabric to appeal to the ‘hip and fashion conscious’ consumer?

A4. We are not interested in new designs or patterns for our existing product.  That is the function of our design and product development team.  We are instead looking for product innovation.

Q5. Would you accept an item that possibly uses new and traditional fabrics?

A5. Yes.

Q6. Who is your target consumer? Are you looking to increase your consumer base with products that are attractive to teens and college students?

A6. Current target consumer:
  • 33-55 yr old woman
  • Married
  • Employed full-time
  • Household size of 2-3
  • $30k-$90k income
  • Yes, we  are looking to increase our reach to younger customers, either college students or first-time home buyers.

Q7. Do you have a specific price point in mind?

A7. Yes and No.
  • We would like to adhere to our current price structure for similar types of product e.g. slipcovers, etc. If the product opens up a new category, then we would have to evaluate the product and price to see if it is worth pursuing.  A camping tent that uses a Burberry print with design royalties would not be of interest.

Q8. Would the potentially selected products be featured in your online store, or debut in one of your retailers’ locations?

A8. Either, but likely both.

Q9. Can you customize the stretch fabric for different thicknesses and stretch margins?  Is it an indoor and outdoor fabric? Can it be printed upon?

A9. Yes, different weights can be achieved in both wovens and knits but there are limitations—it depends on the fabric/cost.  Additional spandex can be added but there are technical limitations as well as functionality limitations. The fabric can be printed and can be used both indoor and outdoor depending on what it’s being designed to cover.

Q10. Are the inventors required to use your fabric for the idea (360-degree stretch fabric) or can they come up with innovations in that area?

A10. They are not required.  Applying a fabric typically used in another industry to our product could actually be a “new concept” e.g. laminated paper folding chair covers in bright colors that are disposable (used for parties) would be an example of a non woven fabric being applied to our industry.

Innovation Fund Featured in Reuters

News giant Reuters featured Edison Nation’s Innovation Fund today on their website.

Louis Foreman figures just about everyone has an idea for an invention, if not the time, money and expertise to pull it off.

The Charlotte, North Carolina, entrepreneur wants to do something about that. His company announced on Wednesday a $25 million initiative dedicated to bringing individuals’ innovations to the marketplace.

Inventors can submit their ideas to the Edison Nation Innovation Fund ( for $25. No other money is required from them to develop the ideas, and they will share the royalties if the product succeeds.

To read more of the article, click here!

Mattel® seeks outdoor toys that can be used for sports activities and games.

Mattel LogoMattel® is looking for an innovative product to enter the category at mass merchants and has teamed up with Edison Nation to hold a Live Product Search!

Toy giant Mattel® is the worldwide leader in the design, manufacture and marketing of toys and family products. Since 1945, the Mattel® family has encompassed such brands as Barbie®, Hot Wheels®, Matchbox®, American Girl®, Tyco® and a wide array of entertainment-inspired toy lines.

As Mattel® continues creating the future of play, they’re challenging you to ideate on safe and durable compound innovations to outdoor toys that can be used for conflict play (e.g. guns, swords, tag, etc.) and/or sports activities (football, soccer, basketball, etc.). Mattel® is also interested in outdoor invention ideas that are not compound based.

Keep in mind Moms’ primary concerns with outdoor toys:

• Safety
• Durability
• Price
• Promotes physical exercise and physical play

Note: Mattel® is not interested in summer seasonal toys at this time.

Targeted Consumer:
Primary: Boys, ages 5-11
Secondary: Moms of Boys, ages 5-11 (moms are primary purchaser, not a user of the product)

We encourage you to submit a visual representation of your product idea (i.e., sketch or photo). While not required, we highly recommend you to submit video of yourself demonstrating a prototype and explaining the features and benefits of your submission. Please be as detailed as possible in telling us about your product innovation. As always, your submission should be unique and protectable (patent protection is helpful, but not a requirement).

To learn more about Mattel®, visit

As with all of our sponsored searches, Edison Nation is not acting as an agent of the search sponsor (in this case, Mattel®). Likewise, not all submitted ideas will be shown to the sponsor.

Click here to submit your idea or learn more!




  Have you ever thought, “wouldn’t it be cool if..”?

‘t can help you get your great ideas on TV and in stores, at no risk to you.

Join for free

ASOTV Selection Announcement

Congratulations to Michael F., from CA, and Nick A., from CA for having their innovations chosen to test for the ASOTV Search! They will all have DRTV spots created for their ideas to test through the cutting-edge platform we have created. These tests will run on television networks throughout the USA and, based on the resulting metrics of these media tests, well-performing products will be selected for a full roll-out.

About the Products
To protect the integrity of the inventions and to ensure the best product launch, we are unable to share specific details while they are in development. However, as soon as these products roll out into the market we will make the announcement right here on the Edison Nation Blog.

VROOM VROOM! NASCAR search is now live!

NASCAR is the smell of exhaust, the skull rattling sounds of the track, the fizz from the cooler, the drivers in logo-smothered fire-suits, ruckus and camaraderie in the stands, the rivalries and drama, the traveling, diehard fans.

NASCAR extends far beyond the 43 stock cars lapping around a track at 200 miles-an-hour.

NASCAR is about the individual talent of drivers and the excitement of the iron-tight teamwork. NASCAR is about the experience. For 40 weeks of the year, an individualNASCAR fan spends upward of $1,000 on merchandise and NASCAR-themed products. 43% of race fans are influenced enough to switch from their usual brand to a NASCAR-labeled product. They’ll even pay more for it. Let bygones be to the southern-bred, backyard-born version of NASCAR. Today, it’s a major league sport coupled with passionate fans, Fortune 500 sponsorships, and a plentiful platform for branding opportunities.

Why are we telling you, our Edison Nation community, about NASCAR?
Because NASCAR wants to see what homegrown product innovations, apparel and merchandise they can put their influential “NASCAR” brand on.

Keep in mind the NASCAR fan experience, and consider new ideas for:

  • Apparel and accessories
  • Track side retail
  • NASCAR-themed gift shop items
  • Memorabilia and collectables
  • Toys
  • Tailgating and other innovations that enhance the fan experience

The millions of male and female fans of NASCAR find and purchase this merchandise at the track, at major retail locations, in gift shops across the country and beyond. If selected for this challenge, your product innovation(s) may be found from Daytona to Talladega to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

We encourage you to submit a visual representation of your product (i.e., sketch or photo). While not required, we highly recommend you to submit video of yourself demonstrating a prototype and explaining the features and benefits of your submission. Please be as detailed as possible in telling us about your product innovation. As always, your submission should be unique and protectable (patent protection is helpful, but not a requirement).

To learn more about NASCAR, please visit

Learn more or submit your idea here!

Swing-N-Slide, a PlayCore company, seeks innovations for their line of residential play-sets.

Swing-N-Slide designs, manufacturers and markets do-it-yourself, ready-to-assemble play-sets for residential properties. The company strives to make the process of buying and assembling a swing set as quick and easy as possible.

Since 1985, Swing-N-Slide is known for such residential playground equipment innovations as the EZ Frame Bracket, the first residential tube slide, the first rock climbing wall and a Rapid-Loc Bracket System that makes building fast, easy and sturdy.

For this challenge, Swing-N-Slide is challenging you to create innovations for their residential backyard playground equipment.

Swing-N-Slide is looking for attachments, accessories, stand-alone play equipment and interactive experience items that encourage outdoor play. These innovations could include:

  • Unique attachments to existing tower/swing sets that encourage child interaction with motion (slides, swings, spinners, ropes etc.)
  • Play structures, devices or projects that stand alone from or replace the need for a swing set
  • Structures, attachments that promote interaction and inclusion of multiple children (games, cooperative balance, cooperative project building, competition, two person swings, etc.)
  • Architectural concepts that offer unique and protectable design elements
  • Low cost, easily assembled turbo slide design (spiral and/or round enclosed tube slide). Design must attach to a 5’ deck height. Looking for minimal hardware, minimal packaging space (nesting required), and minimal assembly time.
  • Concepts should be able to ship to the consumer within the following shipping parameters:
  • Max 150 lbs.
  • 108” length and 165” length & height combined
  • Easily assembled by the consumer

Swing-N-Slide is also looking for innovations that help in packaging, distribution, and assembly of their “No-Cut” kits (using retailer 4×4 for support posts) and “Ready to Assemble” kits (all in one box kits including pre-drilled support posts). These innovations could include:

  • An easier way to package playsets (including vertical support posts) to fit on 4’ x 4’ pallets
    (Traditional vertical support posts measure 8 ft.; the new design requires 4 ft. post with innovative bracket system to reach the traditional 8 ft. height)
  • Easier installation and assembly (reduce time, frustration and tools required to assemble playsets). Possibly a no-power tool solution.
  • Innovative building materials (improved plastics, metals or wood substitutes) that reduce manufacturing costs, packaging size, and simplify site installation.
  • Innovative attachment methods for swings, slides, accessories, canopies, posts and beams, and structural components that reduce installation time and manufacturing costs.

Target Consumer:

  • Parents, ages 25-40 with small children

Targeted cost-of-goods:

  • Any additions and/or improvements to the traditional swing set design must fit at retail up to $1,200.
  • Add on attachments must be packaged to fit at retail


We encourage you to submit a visual representation of your product (i.e., sketch or photo). While not required, we highly recommend you to submit video of yourself demonstrating a prototype and explaining the features and benefits of your submission. Please be as detailed as possible in telling us about your product innovation. As always, your submission should be unique and protectable (patent protection is helpful, but not a requirement).

To learn more about PlayCore and Swing-N-Slide please visit and

Last Chance Reminder: The Edison Insider Open Search closes Tonight at Midnight!

Edison Nation listens to what our community has to say, and we keep hearing you have the million dollar idea, but we don’t have a search for you to submit to. Edison Nation is now hosting an “open” search exclusive to our Edison Insiders. If you have a rock-star idea, submit it to the Open Search. It works just like our sponsor-specific Live Product Searches, except we’ll work with any consumer goods retailer or manufacturer in any mass-appeal category.

If your idea is selected for this search and you reach the Finalist stage – also called “G7” – the Edison Nation team will identify the ideal prospective partners for your idea, whether they are companies we have previously worked with or not.

For this search, Edison Nation wants to see your best new product concepts spanning any industry or category.

Keep in mind that top ideas will:

• Have broad appeal (no niche ideas that only you, your best friend and grandma would buy!)
• Be considered consumer products (i.e. no industrial equipment, technological advancements without application and so forth)
• Be protected by a trade secret or patent, or a concept that can be protected by a trade secret or patent
• Have high marketing and sales volume potential

Part of the fun in hosting an Open Search is that there aren’t many rules and requirements! Edison Nation will consider any unique and innovative concept as long as it is for a new consumer product with mass market appeal.

While not required, we highly encourage you to submit a video of yourself demonstrating a prototype and explaining the features and benefits of your submission. Please be as detailed as possible in telling us about your innovation.

Please note, this is an opportunity for you to submit ideas that haven’t been a fit in any other search. You can create a new idea based on a previously submitted idea, but we really want new and fresh ideas that haven’t been a fit anywhere else. For this reason, we do not accept opt-ins to the Insider Open Search.

Click here to submit your idea or learn more!

Last Chance Casting for Everyday Edisons and 5,000 bonus points for Insiders ends at Noon EST!

Next 02 Hours 02 Minutes Only!
Last Chance Casting for Everyday Edisons and
5,000 bonus points for Insiders
Deadline – Friday, Jan 28th at noon, EST.

As a special offer to our Edison Nation Insiders, we are extending the Everyday Edisons casting for Season 4 through Friday, January 28th at noon. In order for your idea to be considered, simply submit it to the Insider Open Search by the deadline.

If you have already submitted your idea to the Open Search — even if it was after the first deadline — we will consider it.

As a bonus, all Insider ideas submitted between noon today and noon Friday will earn an additional 5,000 Insider points.

Click here to take advantage of this opportunity now — the deadline is just a moment away!

Edison Nation is excited to announce our first selection for the Edison Insider Search!

Edison Nation has always been known for licensing consumer products that make life a little easier and more enjoyable. As we enter the New Year, we’re hoping to add the tools to help support more technical ideas in addition to our current consumer products. We’ve already told you about our partnership with Battelle, the Columbus, Ohio-based research and development organization, and we’re excited about the ventures we have in the pipeline for 2011.

As we closed our first Edison Insider Search, we were blown away by the submissions and possibilities of our members. The submissions we received were truly phenomenal.

The first innovation chosen from  the Edison Insider Search comes to us from Mark Stark, a St. Louis, Mo.-based designer. Stark created the “Natural Dexterous Hand” (U.S. Patent 7655051) to help Dave Vogt, a longtime friend and amputee.

His innovation features five fingers that flex at 14 individual joints, providing hand motion without the cost of electronic mechanisms or reliance on battery power.

Stark and his invention will be featured in the January issue of Inventors Digest. You can read a copy of the story here.

You can also watch Stark’s submission video below.

The Prosthetic Hand

Congratulations Mark!

There are still several innovations in consideration for the first Edison Insider search; be sure to check the blog to see whose concept is selected next!