Monday, April 21, 2014

4. Do I know what resources I need to get this thing done?

Product development is a complex process, often times requiring the skills of many different subs to fulfill your vision. More often than not, the inventor does not hold all, or even some, of the disciplines and resources to get to the output of the product, and the projects can become paralyzed by the the inventor's ignorance of where, and who, to assist. This is not a criticism of the inventor, rather, an objective look at the reality of our capacities - I may believe there is a better diesel engine to be designed but I am most likely not the right person to go machine parts for the cause! Our skills and experiences cannot be all things, so we rely on others and their skills and experience to get us where we need to go.

I mention building a 'resource tree.' This handy illustration is often times sticky notes attached to whiteboards, or an Excel spreadsheet with lists and lists of names and companies. However the method chosen, building this is a critical step in diagramming the processes and 'stops' along the way to success. A great method for doing this is to write the names of those categories you will need, such as the illustration below:

This list will, and should, continue to grow over time. Don't forget, there is no limit to who and how many people and resources that this list shall hold, and even friends and family can be considered for these lists as well.

Tracking the Resource Tree is critical. Whatever you do, make sure to edit this list often, removing (or at least commenting on) those that did not perform well and replacing with some that are hopeful. I will sometimes rate each performance an a scale of 1-5 or something similar, thus recording my experience for future consideration of those resources. It is also a good idea to place the reference from which you might have come across this resource as they can often lead to even more resources for your use.

If you just don't feel you can go it alone, and would rather consider using a developer to push your idea forward, then I would encourage interviewing at least a few different companies to see what their history and successes are. For example, there are many inventor resource companies that will offer marketing and potential licensing opportunities for your product, in exchange for a flat fee. This fee can be large and the results unpredictable. I would use extreme caution in presenting your idea to any of these firms, rather perform due diligence with others that can deliver more tangible results. Consider only paying for milestone achievements, ensuring that work and results are in handle prior to paying out large sums of cash. That cash can be utilized elsewhere, trust me!

Sometimes, we just do not have the resources necessary to get the project done, and the best thing inventors can do is to be honest with themselves about their knowledge of how to get it done. Walking into this process blind can raise massive frustration levels, so read the blurb on patience ( prior to setting out! Either direction, going solo or enlisting others, or even a combination of the two, will at times be rewarding and at other times be as frustrating as anything. Having the proper road map of folks to help, however, may make all the difference in the world to your project becoming a success.

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