Tips to Improve your Product Idea Submissions: Prototypes

Have a great idea you’d like to share with Edison Nation for a potential licensing deal or As Seen on TV (ASOTV) campaign? As mentioned in a recent blog post, prototypes are great way to help the Edison Nation team visualize an invention idea as a tangible product. If you want to take your prototype a step further, consider including a Proof of Concept.

What is a Proof of Concept (POC), you ask? A Proof of Concept is a demonstration of some sort that verifies the proposed concept or theory has the potential for a real world application. In this sense, a Proof of Concept is a demonstration, typically using a prototype, which validates the functionality of the idea.

Note: Prototypes are never required as part of Edison Nation’s consumer product licensing or As Seen on TV product selection process, but may help us better understand your vision and share your idea to interested parties. This is the fourth post in the Tips to Improve your Product Idea Submissions series, be sure to stay tuned as we dive into each suggestion and bring in EN members from different divisions to discuss.

As Seen on TV

Perfect Bacon Bowl Tinfoil Prototype

Here are some considerations to keep in mind while creating a prototype or proof of concept for your product submission:

Keep the goal in mind. What are you trying to convey and how are you going to best convey it? Are you trying to prove a certain functionality works? A proof of concept with everyday materials should do the trick. Are you trying to show us a novel design for an existing invention? Then your focus should be on the aesthetics of the materials and less so the functionality. The materials you use, the multimedia type (video, image, etc.), and the type of prototype should all be considered before moving forward. 

It is not necessary to spend a lot of money. In a previous blog post we discuss how everyday materials can be used to create prototypes. This is a great resource for the everyday inventor who is not able to invest resources behind their invention ideas. Even if your idea is complex, think about the important features you’d like to represent with a tangible prototype and stick to the resources you already have available.

A foam core prototype

A foam core prototype

It doesn’t have to be pretty. Unless you are submitting an idea for a new way to design something, it does not need to perfect. Especially if you are including a prototype as a proof-of-concept, the focus is on the functionality, rather than the design. Don’t get bogged down by the aesthetics – instead focus on validating the concept and ensuring your description accurately conveys your vision.

A card stock prototype for a pencil sharpener exhaust

A card stock prototype for a pencil sharpener exhaust

Listen to your prototype. Creating a prototype allows inventors to progress their idea even further and address concerns that they may not have considered as mere thoughts. Play with it and use it. Perhaps while creating a proof of concept you will think of a better way to accomplish the same goal.

As Thomas Edison once said, “We now know a thousand ways not to build a lightbulb.” In the end, be sure you are keeping a levelheaded approach to your inventing and prototyping. By creating a rough prototype, you will quickly understand what is going to work and what will not so you can readjust your priorities and dedicate your valuable resources accordingly.

 


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6 Comments Tips to Improve your Product Idea Submissions: Prototypes

  1. Steven Hanna

    Ever heard of SHOOAWAY? It’s a patented tabletop device that KEEPS FLIES OFF YOUR FOOD! It’s safe and chemical free.

    I am the exclusive distributor for Shooaway in the USA with authority to license the product.

    It’s has been selling like hotcakes in 5 other countries in the world but is only now becoming available in the USA. January 1, 2015 it will be available to the general public. It is manufactured in Shanghai. It’s online price point is $19.95.

  2. Lea

    Hi Steven – this sounds like a very clever idea but unfortunately we are unable to review and pursue ideas that aren’t entered into our secure system. This is to ensure your idea isn’t disclosed to the public and allows us to share with prospective companies if our team finds the ideas is viable in the market. Please find ‘submit your idea’ in the top main navigation bar and choose the search that best suits your idea. If it is patented or patent pending you can submit it to our Insider Licensing Program. You can learn more about this program here: http://www.edisonnation.com/live_product_searches/ENLICEN323. Thank you and good luck!

  3. Lea

    Hi Margurita – What you file is called a ‘provisional patent application. Upon filing a provisional patent application, you can say you have a “patent pending.” Hope this helps!

  4. Derek Hopkins

    My utility patent was just approved,and just paid my issuing free.I should receive my hard copy of my patent.in 30 days.looking for a licensing deal.What should I do next?

  5. Lea

    Hi Derek – You’ve come to the right place! We hold product searches with retailers and manufacturers who are looking to license their inventions. The first step is to sign up with a free account by clicking ‘sign up’ in the top right hand of the screen. Then, click ‘Submit Your Idea’ in the main navigation bar. Since your idea is patented we suggest you submit it to the Insider Licensing Program. You can learn more about this by visiting http://www.edisonnation.com/insiderlicensingprogram. Hope this helps!

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