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When identifying a problem, make sure it is within your ability to solve the problem. For example, you may want to invent something to help with global warming. However, a device that would reverse global warming altogether may be a bit beyond your abilities. So, instead, focus on how you can help combat global warming in your home – is there something you could invent to save energy at home?

  • Brainstorm Solutions

Once you have selected a problem, make a list of possible solutions and write them down in your Inventor’s Log. The purpose of a brainstorm is to not worry about how you would make the solution, but to just simply list everything that comes to mind. Sometimes, an outrageous idea can lead to one that is more reasonable.

  • Select a Solution

Look over the entire list of solutions and evaluate each solution to identify the best one. It helps to think about your ability levels, your access to equipment, and the time you have when debating about your choice. You may want to ask your family and friends for their thoughts about your solution. Finally, give your idea a name – you can change it later, but it helps to keep you motivated and brings your idea more to life once it has a cool name!

So what do you do if none of the solutions you brainstormed are within your abilities? You can either try to brainstorm more solutions, maybe with some other people to help you come up with ideas, or even go back to your list of problems and needs and choose a different one. Keep the list for future inventions, but go ahead and move on to a different idea. There is nothing wrong with this – inventors often have ideas they put off until later or never manage to build. Even Thomas Edison, for all of his patents, still had many ideas he never created.
Step 2 – Make a Plan  Young Inventors Showcase

  • Do Research

Research is an important part of the invention process. There are two key things you need to research: 1) has anyone already made your invention and 2) important information needed to better understand your problem and to help you plan your invention.
You must do the research to make sure someone has not already claimed the patent for your idea or something very close to it. A “patent” is a legal document saying that you own an invention. If you make an invention that is already patented, it is called “infringement.” Basically, this means you are stealing someone else’s work and claiming it as your own. Even if it is unintentional, it is wrong and illegal. To determine if an invention already exists, you can search the website of the United States Patent and Trademark 0ffice (www.uspto.gov) and/or you can use search engines such as GoogleTM, Yahoo! TM, Ask.comTM and others.
Once you’re sure your idea hasn’t already been created, go ahead and make a list of questions you have and topics related to your invention. Put this list in your Inventor’s Log. A good inventor is well-informed about what they are inventing. Often, this research is important when it comes to developing your model or prototype, which you’ll do in the

 

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