Idea to Invention: A book review by Bob Morris

Idea to InventionIdea to Invention: What You Need to Know to Cash In On Your Inspiration
Patricia Nolan-Brown
AMACOM (2014)

“Don’t worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you’ll have to ram them down people’s throats.” Howard Aiken

The Aiken quote correctly notes some of the challenges that await those who formulate what they believe to be a “great idea.” How to convert that idea into what Patricia Nolan-Brown characterizes as an “invention,” at least in the form of a prototype, and then take it to market? Her answer to that question is provided within this book: “My message in a nutshell is that anyone can become a successful inventor. Just think ‘six-plus-six’ — six personal traits for success and six simple steps to invention. You don’t need a trust fund, a corner office, or a second mortgage to do it. All you need is your own imagination and this book.”

As I came upon the passage in the Introduction just quoted, I was again reminded of this observation by Oliver Wendell Holmes: “I wouldn’t give a fig for simplicity this side of complexity but I would give my life for simplicity on the other side of complexity.” Nolan-Brown’s choices of words and phrases (Just think, six simple steps, all you need, etc.) suggest that completing the process from idea to invention is far simpler than in fact it is. The single greatest value of this book is that it will help those who absorb and digest the material to eliminate waste of resources, to make better choices, to sharpen their focus on what is most important, and to obtain whatever assistance and support that may be needed to achieve eventual success. All of the information, insights, and counsel provided can help to achieve those worthy objectives.

These are among the dozens of business subjects and issues of special interest and value to me, also listed to indicate the scope of Nolan-Brown’s coverage.

o The Success Quiz (Pages 7-13)
o Trust Synchronicity (20-21)
o Reframe Criticism (27-29) and also see Chapter 13 (121-153)
o Your (Very Short and Simple) Communications Motivation Quiz (33)
o The Energizing To-Do List (40-45)
o The Menu to Nourish Dreams (49-51)
o Be Like an Owl (60-61)
o The Six Simple Steps to Invention (63-67)
o Start with What You Know — But Think Outside the Box (70-74)
o Cook It: Step Two (83-89)
o Legal Counsel (109-112 and 115-118)
o Cold Calls (122-129)
o Other Opportunities to Pitch It (149-153)
o The Licensing Agreement (159-164)
o Chapter 16: Building the Right Online Platform (189-217)

Long ago, Albert Einstein observed, “Make everything as simple as possible but no simpler.” I think Patricia Nolan-Brown has achieved that when presenting an abundance of information, insights, and counsel that can help her reader to complete the process of getting from idea to invention on the other side of complexity.

So, if you have what you think is a great idea, “Refuse to be intimidated. Be stubborn. Feed your dreams. Nobody can really predict what will sell and what won’t. There is no reason why your product might not make a million dollars. But what matters most of all is that you are enjoying yourself and doing what you love to do…We have all heard that the longest journey begins with a single step. It’s time to take it. As you prepare, give some thought to the principles and techniques you learn from this book.” Another self-diagnostic then follows, “The Idea to Invention Final Quiz.”

Bon voyage!

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