HAVE YOU EVER FINISHED A FANTASTIC BOOK and wondered how the author could possibly have invented all the ideas that went into it? Or perhaps there is someone at work who somehow always just imagines way s to solve problems which no one else ever considered. How do these people do it?

The answer is -------- that they use their creativity.

You don’t have to be a writer, a composer, or an artist to be creative.

You simply need to be able to look at the world with new eyes and use what you see in new ways. No matter what you do for a living or how old you are, you sure can increase your creativity and make it work for you.

The steps to easy and better creativity are:

Think about yourself and your past.

You will be amazed at how much this will open up your mind to new ideas.

By thinking about your experiences, you can uncover new facts or new relation-ships among different data you’ve collected, which might lead to greater ideas. Also, you can rid yourself of any inhibitions about creativity you might have buried in your past. Maybe a teacher or sibling told you once that you had the creativity of an old shoe, and you believed him. That opinion of yourself is not true and you don’t have to accept it.

Don’t get trapped in a role.

If you select a defined role, such as the businessman with the conservative three- piece suit, you might find it harder to break away and become the Picasso of the board room . Leave yourself open and flexible.

Think like a child.

Have you ever sat on a hillside, looked up at the sky, and wondered what it would be like to travel faster than any human ever has before? Well, you are not alone. According to legend, Albert Einstein discovered the theory of relativity by just imagining himself flying at the speed of light . If imagination worked for such a distinguished scientist, it can also work for you.

Children thrive on large doses of imagination.

 It allows them to see the world in new ways, and to try different activities. In order to open up your own imagination, do something you’ve never done before but always wondered about, or just sit and daydream. When you release your mind from the confines of everyday life, you leave yourself open to all manner of fresh ideas.

Write down all your ideas

Otherwise known as brainstorming , this procedure allows you to explore all aspects of a particular project or problem. Don’t worry if your ideas seem too far-fetched or crazy—just get some ideas on paper . You can judge them for soundness at a later time.

Confront your frustrations.

Sometimes it seems that no matter what you do, the creative juices simply won’t flow . Just don’t sit there and stew about it, confront it. See if you can figure out what is stopping your creativity, and then write about it. This will help free up the creative flow.

Change your surroundings.

If you still have trouble being creative, change something about your environment— go to another room, take a walk, change your clothes, paint your bedroom, paint a picture or maybe just do a few chores. Sometimes it helps to get away from the problem entirely for awhile by imagining yourself somewhere you would really like to visit.

Analyze your ideas.

Now is the time to review your ideas and see if any of them have potential.

Don’t ever, never worry about making mistakes.

Failure happens to the best of us. It is a very well-known fact that Einstein did poorly in school, was fired from his first job, even his own doctoral dissertation—the theory of relativity—was rejected by his university. But he never gave up . If you fail, figure out what didn’t work, and then try again . Write out your ideas in great detail, look for the flaws in your thinking, and then try to come up with more creative ideas., again.

There is no excuse for not being creative

It doesn’t matter if you are 80-years-old, crippled, or completely lacking in spare time, you can still be creative. Pablo Picasso continued to paint and draw into his 90s . The poet, William Carlos Williams published three books of his poetry between ages 68 and 79, despite having suffered a stroke that left him paralyzed. If you don’t have free time, then be creative on the job.

Live with encouragers, not discouragers.

If a friend or family member tries to discourage you creative efforts by telling you your ideas will never work, find people to associate with who will support your efforts. They’re out there—just look around.

Creative thinking is not just one method of climbing the ladder of success—it is a way of life. When you open up your mind to the potential for new ideas, you learn the joys of exploring, experimenting, and figuring things out for yourself. You learn how to live in a new way!




If so, you are not alone.

Many people dream of being the next Alexander Graham Bell or Thomas Edison, and they feel their ideas can be million dollar money-makers—if only they knew how to market their inventions.

The interesting thing is marketing an invention is not as complicated as you might think. You just have to know the process to go through to get your product from its present spot as a small kernel of an idea at the back of your mind to store shelves across the country. The steps to marketing your invention are as follows:

(1) Document your idea.

Before you do anything else, buy a notebook with numbered pages and start keeping a detailed, dated diary of your idea as it develops. This is a good way to prove you had an idea first if a question ever arises at the U.S. Patent Office or in court.

You can also document your idea with the U.S. Patent Office’s Document Disclosure Program . Send two copies of a written description of your idea, two copies of drawings or photographs of your concept, and a $10 check, to :

                    Document Disclosure Program;

                    U.S. Patent and Trademark Office;

                    Washington, D.C. 20231.

Although it isn’t a patent, registering your idea gives you official proof in a court of law.

If your idea has a distinctive look, like a new game board or clothing design, you should also file for a copyright. To learn more about the copyrighting process, write to:

                    Registrar of Copyrights;

                    Copyright Office; Library of Congress;

                     Washington, D.C. 20559

and request the free booklets; Publications on Copyrights and Copyright Basics

(2) Do your homework.

Check out your friends, relatives, catalogs, and local stores. You want to make sure no one else has already marketed a product quite like yours. Perhaps something is on the market which is similar to your idea. In that case, is there something unique about your idea which will make it even better than the current available product? Also, find out what other businesses charge for similar products and make an estimate of how much to charge for your product which is competitive with the existing market.

Show several friends and relatives rough sketches of your invention and question them about the usefulness of your product.

The specific questions to focus on are:

• Do you need this product?

• If it were on the market, would you buy this product?

• How much would you pay for this product?

These are three very important questions.

If no one feels he needs your product, now is a good time to find out before you spend any more time and money. You can also discover if your cost estimate is reasonable in the eyes of potential future customers.

(3) Design and build a model

Next, you need to draw a formal blueprint of your invention, showing exact dimensions and listing the materials you will use to make a working model. The drawing needs to be complete and accurate so that someone in a machine shop can construct the prototype model, but it doesn’t have to look like a professional engineer put it together. If you don’t feel artistic enough to make your own drawing, hire a student from a design school, or even from your local high school’s drafting class, to create the drawing.

Do not be surprised if you have to make several adjustments in your drawing, adding or subtracting features . The more work you do now, the better your model will be.

After the drawing is completed to your satisfaction, it’s time to build the prototype or first model of your invention. Once again, if you don’t feel qualified to construct the model, hire a talented local shop student at the high school, or visit a model car or railroad trade show, where you will meet people who put together prototypes as a hobby. You can also check the phone book and get names of local machine shops or model makers, if you want a truly professional model. Make sure, however, that you get estimates on the cost before any work is done!

(4) Test your product

Put your invention through a series of test runs, and make notes of its good and bad points. Also give the model to a few trusted friends or relatives and see how it works in an everyday environment. Now is the time to work out the bugs, if at all possible.

Now is the time also to make sure you make a notation in your notebook, signed and dated by a witness, that you have created a working model. This is a very important step in establishing yourself as the original inventor.

You are now in a position to do one of three things.

You can apply for a patent and go into business manufacturing your invention yourself. A second choice is to sell your idea outright to an interested company. Finally, you can negotiate a license agreement with a company whereby you’re paid a minimum annual payment, or royalty, for the use of your idea.

(5) Manufacture your invention yourself

• Make between 50 and 200 copies of your model and sell them in a few stores. Talk to the store managers and arrange to sell the product on a consignment basis. That way, the managers aren’t stuck with a product which won’t sell.

This is a good way to prove to potential investors that your invention is a good risk

• Run a few small ads in your local paper, or offer to split the cost of advertising with the stores . Do what you can to bring people into the store to buy your product.

This is the moment of truth for your idea, because it shows once and for all whether people are interested enough in your product to buy it. If your invention doesn’t sell fast enough, you either forget the whole thing before it costs you even more money, or you literally go back to the drawing board, do more market research, and make adjustments on your model.

• Have someone with a desk-top printer produce a three-color, illustrated one page flier which describes the success you had test marketing your product. Distribute copies of your flier to industry insiders and key contacts as you work to arrange monetary backing for a much larger production of your invention.

• Continue to produce copies of your invention on your own as you work to gain the interests of a larger corporation. This shows your potential investors that you have faith in your product. It also establishes a track record for your invention.

As your sales increase, begin marketing your product in other regional stores. When your markets are solid in a region, start thinking about marketing nationally.

6) Sell your idea outright

Another option is to sell your idea or invention outright to a company that already manufactures products similar to your own. When you sell outright, you present the company with a bill for services rendered plus any expenses. Say you charge $100 an hour, you worked a total of 60 hours, and you used $4,000 in materials. Your total gain on your invention would be $10,000. Once you get your check, you are no longer responsible for your invention, nor are you able to share in the profits.

7) Negotiate a licensing agreement

When you negotiate a licensing agreement, you are asking to share in the profits from the manufacture and sale of your invention. In a minimum payment royalty sale, you receive a percentage, usually around five percent, of the invoice cost of each product sold.

What is more, at the beginning of each year while you hold the contract, the company pays you a minimum against these royalties, usually around 50 percent of projected annual royalties. What this means is that if the company projects an annual sale of $100,000 at five percent per product, your total annual royalty will

be $50,000, with the company paying you $25,000 in one lump sum at the very beginning of the year!

The beauty of inventing is that you don’t have to tackle really big projects, like a car that runs on distilled water, in order to make money. Many money-making inventions start out with someone wanting to create a solution to some small problem in his or her environment.

Look around you! Perhaps you can put together an invention which tells people when their house plants need to be watered, or something which automatically throws away junk mail, or a new way to peel a carrot, or even a better mouse trap! Many times your invention makes improvements on existing products. Check household and kitchen gadgets for ways you can improve them.

Inventing can be that spare time hobby which ends up making you some very nice pocket change.

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