Where we're going, we don't need roads!
Before experiencing it myself, I thought invention was all about creativity. Why not? It’s definitely a huge part of it—thinking of new, unheard of ways to tackle a common problem. But, again, things aren’t always what they first appear to be. Invention, in practice, is the result of a lot of creativity paired with a TON of knowledge about both the problem itself and the science that makes up your solution.
And let me tell you: this is no small deal.
I mean, it took Doc Brown THIRTY YEARS to develop the Time Machine, and here I’ve got only six weeks!!! That’s why, in the absence of my own DeLorean, I have to make the best use of my time possible!!!
I figured out pretty early on that no single source could give me all the information I needed, not even one single type of source.
I started out with learning about the problem itself—not the why or the how, just the facts: statistics, professional opinions, and lots of news articles! This way, I learned that the issue I was facing was current, affected a significant number of people, and needed a solution! It also helped me sort through methods of solving the problem that had already been tried (successful or unsuccessful).
Once I had a pretty good understanding of the problem, I wanted to sort out how the problem affects people and their lives and how to develop my invention so that people will actually use it. This is where the heavy reading came in. I’ve been researching the science behind why the problem is the way it is, and that lead me to even more research about how I can monitor the problem, and (you guessed it!) solve it!
In addition to books, the internet, and videos, I’ve got my 3M mentor, Dr. Moran, as a source for information from an engineer who works with things like this, as well as the
opinions of other professionals who have been kind enough to talk to me about my project.
Now, even while I keep on researching, it’s up to me to sort through all my information, comparing different opinions, and organizing everything!!! It’s the absolute worst to lose your WHOLE NOTEBOOK where you keep your notes (not that I’m speaking from personal experience or anything…). So, now I sort all my notes by topic, and keep all those topics sorted by color, so I can easily find what I need. It’s awesome—like having a spare brain where I can store all the information I need for my invention. That way I’m not worried about forgetting important points, because I can always double-check anything with my notes!