Young Inventors Showcase 2

Creating an Invention

The process of developing an invention is not difficult, but it can take time. There are five major steps involved in creating an invention:

  • Get an Idea
  • Make a Plan
  • Build a Model
  • Test the Model
  • Finalize Your Invention

Below are more details about each step and some examples to help. However, please keep in mind that this is a process, not a recipe. Follow the points that help you create your invention and avoid the ones that frustrate you, slow you down, or prevent you from completing your invention. Go in an order that makes sense for you and don’t be afraid to go back to a previous step.

Keep in mind that, if you make a mistake or something fails, it isn't the end of the world. ALL inventors have setbacks, but the successful ones learn from their mistakes and move forward. In 1968, Dr. Spence Silver was trying to create super-strong glue, but instead he made a very weak adhesive that wouldn’t permanently stick. Six years later, another researcher at his company was looking for a way to stick bookmarks into a book without damaging the paper. He discovered that Dr. Silver’s weak glue was perfect for his needs, turning what was thought to be a failure into a top-selling office supply - the PostItTM Note. So, if you get stuck, take a step back, look over what you’ve done, and don’t be afraid to move into a new direction.

Remember - the most important thing when inventing is to have fun!

Step 1 – Get an IdeaYoung Inventors Showcase 3

  • Identify a Need, Want, or Problem

All inventions have one thing in common – they are created to solve a need, want, or problem. As such, identifying the problem or need is the most important step, and sometimes the most difficult, in creating an invention. If you work on problems and needs that interest you and have an impact on what you care about, you are more likely to learn from and enjoy the process. These problems can be in your everyday life, such as something that helps around the house or at school. For example, one young girl invented a no-spill bowl after watching her mom clean up a mess created by her baby sister when she spilled her bowl of cereal on the floor.
A good inventor is always observant: look at the things that you do every day but could be made easier with a different device. You eat, sleep, do chores, go to school, play sports, work or play on the computer, help other people, and much more. Each of these things that you do may benefit from invention. How many times have you said, “I wish I
had a_________ that could help me do this (or would do this for me)!”? That is where
invention begins. Ask your parents, friends, teachers, and other community members. Make a list of problems in your Inventor’s Log and then pick your favorite among them.

(Showcase Guidelines Table of Contents)

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