InvENting 101: Feedback and Inventing

InvENting 101: Feedback and Inventing

In past InvENting 101 posts, we’ve discussed Fear, Patience and Rejection as they relate to inventing. Today, we’re going to discuss how to handle and what to do with Feedback.

The term feedback is defined as follows:

Information about reactions to a product, a person’s performance of a task, etc., used as a basis for improvement.

Feedback and opportunities to use that feedback helps to improve and enhance, whether an individual, group, business, business unit, company, or organization – and that information can be used to make better informed decisions.

At Edison Nation, feedback is provided to our Insiders on an ongoing basis for those in Stage 7 of our standard searches and in Stage 3 of the Insider Licensing Program. Feedback is provided at all stages for Insiders whose ideas have been declined. The feedback program was launched for Insiders in 2013.

Edison Nation’s mission is to provide idea submitted by our innovators their best chance at success.

As Scott mentioned when the program started, the function of the Insider Feedback Program is to highlight the key reasons why an idea was declined. This can include examples of competitive products on the market, existing intellectual property, mass marketability and more.

The goal of the program is to provide guidance to our Insiders following our review of their idea so they can make the best “next steps” decisions for their ideas, whether that means updating the information within the submission and opting it into a new search (free for Insiders) for additional consideration or going back to the drawing board.

Here are five reasons why feedback is so important:

  1. Feedback is always there. Every time we speak to a person, employee, customer, vendor, etc., we communicate feedback. In actuality, it’s impossible not to give feedback.
  2. Feedback is effective “listening.” When feedback is given, it shows the recipient that they are being heard and understood.
  3. Feedback can motivate. Feedback, if taken constructively, can serve to motivate the recipient to perform better (or in the case of Edison Nation, take another look at an idea to see how it can be improved).
  4. Feedback can improve performance. Feedback is often mistaken for criticism. In fact, what is viewed as negative criticism is actually constructive criticism and is the best kind of feedback that can lead to improvement.
  5. Feedback is a tool for continued learning. Continued or ongoing feedback is important in order to remain aligned to goals, create strategies, develop and improve products and services improvements and much more. Continued learning is the key to improving.

All of this being said, receiving feedback is not always easy.

Most people assume that given a choice between receiving positive or negative feedback, the majority would choose positive. Research was done to test this theory and analyzing the results it was discovered that only 22% of participants in the study indicated that they preferred receiving positive feedback, while 66% expressed a stronger preference for receiving negative feedback. A small group, 12% had an equal preference.

As Joseph Folkman outlines in his article “You Can Take It! How to Accept Negative Feedback With Ease,” “Resisting receiving negative feedback does not make the feedback disappear, nor does it improve your effectiveness: Feedback is a gift, not a punishment.”

“Resisting feedback keeps a person from improving.”

In theory, it is easy to say that you’ll always accept “constructive” feedback with grace and positivity. In reality, in the heat of the moment, many of us react with defensiveness and anger or (even worse) attack the person (or company) giving feedback. But the truth is, we need to get over it. There’s value in constructive criticism – how else would we identify weaknesses only help be more successful in everything we do.

So what are some things you can you do next time you receive feedback to make it more of a growing experience versus something negative?

Stop Your First Reaction

At the first sign of criticism, before you do anything – stop. Really. Try not to react at all! You’ll have at least one second to stop your reaction. While one second seems insignificant in real life, it’s ample time for your brain to process a situation. And in that moment, you can remind yourself to stay calm.

Remember the Benefit of Getting Feedback

You have a few seconds to quickly remind yourself of the benefits of receiving constructive criticism – namely, to improve your skills, work product and relationships and more.

SIDEBAR: Try to curtail any reaction you’re having to the folks delivering the feedback. Remember, particularly at Edison Nation, it is our goal to get as many ideas as possible commercialized. We keep no tally of how many ideas we decline, and it is NEVER our desire to upset or deflate you.

Take time to process the information you received

Once you’ve reviewed the information you’ve been provided, if it is in person, ask for some time to review, process and follow up. If you’ve received the feedback in writing (as is done within the Edison Nation system), allow yourself to digest the information – walk away for an hour, a day, a week and come back to it with fresh eyes and a fresh outlook. This time will help you remove emotions from the equation and develop a logical strategy of next steps.

Hopefully we’ve inspired you to:

  • Approach the next feedback you receive more positively.
  • Take another look at feedback you received on your ideas to see where you can improve.

Happy Inventing!


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