Go Gear Direct has been privileged to work with inspiring inventors in firearms accessories and outdoor products. These inventors have habits that fuel their innovation. The list below are some common traits for inventors on our site. We developed some activities so you can try these out for yourself.
1. BE OBSERVANT
Many people have a need and develop improvements to meet the need without seeing the whole problem.
Example - Parallel Parking
How many people struggled to learn parallel parking? We were given tools to help – how far the car should be from the curb, how to align the rear bumper. Instead of incrementally improving the parking process, someone stood back and said, “what are the issues that people have when driving – it is hard to see all the obstacles, especially with backing up and parallel parking.” They then ask, “What if we add back up cameras and sensors (new technology) to aid in the process?”. It definitely has provided a new view driving and improved the experience.
Example - Climbing, running, moving through obstacles with a firearm
Can you do these things with ease? A frustrated active duty soldier saw the advantages of a single point sling for dynamic movement but also saw the limitations when climbing and running. A double point sling solves the problem by providing positive retention but makes it difficult to switch shoulders and reload. Many just deal with the problem. McLean, an active duty soldier thought about the problem and developed the McLean Dynamic Retention Sling that incorporates the patented quick release design that provides the versatility of a single point sling while offering the ability to be retained as a 2 -point sling.
Activity to try - Instead of talking, observe others doing an activity and think about the tools they are using and how they use them.
2. ENTERTAIN THE RADICAL IDEAS
When listening to your own ideas or those of others, figure out how to pile on and further the idea.
Example - Magnets used in machining In manufacturing.
I was used to designing fixtures so they would slide into the same location every time and then clamp them down with a sequence of clamps. Every time you change out the fixture, the spindle is not moving and chips are not being cut, it is lost opportunity. Another option is to use magnets to hold the part. I can just see the conversation around magnets to hold fixtures that could have resulted in not improving: - “we could use really strong magnets to hold fixtures – we might still need clamps but not as many and the magnets could be used to orient the fixtures” - “magnets would never be strong enough” - “we would have to retrofit all the machines and tools, it’s too expensive”
Example - A cooler converts to a fish fighting seat
Most fishermen are there to ‘just’ fish, not think about inventing. That is probably why the 3 Bills Fast Fighting Gimbal was not developed before now. It took an innovator to observe the open hulled charter boats with limited fighting seats to entertain a radical idea – Use this anchor of a cooler to provide one more fishing spot.
Activity to try – Ask someone for advice on how to do something. After you clarify their answer, ask a follow-on question that improves their offering. See if you can develop something in a collaborative fashion. Ask questions about how something would work instead of telling them that it will not work or hard it is.
3. HANDLE FEAR
Instead of fear handling you, use your fear to aid in decision making, not stop it.
Example - Launching a website to help innovators can be daunting
Instead of becoming overwhelmed by the fear, we measure our activity and see what works and do more of that and less of what doesn’t work. This process of scientifically measuring results provides a context to the fear. It allows us to understand where to focus our effort to mitigate bad results.
Example -Developing a Revolver Speedloader
Instead of being stalled by the issues that arose as they developed their speedloader, the team at CK Tactical kept plugging away solving one issue after the other until they were satisfied with the performance. It took longer than they anticipated but they persevered and launched their innovative 5 shot and 6 shot speedloading solution.
Activity to try – Identify a fear that has slowed you down. Use this fear to brainstorm next small steps in overcoming the fear. Design experiments to test the things you are afraid of to see if the fear is justified.
4. BE CURIOUS
Follow your passion. Let your mind wander. Learn how things work even if they don’t seem to be related.
Example - Magnetic Work-holders for falling steel targets.
The best part of shooting steel is the dynamic targets. How quickly can you reset the target and get back to the fun is the challenge. I haven’t seen magnetic work holding developed for this application. Could it work?
Activity to try - Scan a daily blog/news article of your choice. When you see one thing that peaks your interest, take one step to investigate it further.
5. SURROUND YOURSELF WITH CHAMPIONS
A real innovator knows he can’t do it alone. The people who you surround yourself provide their own thoughts and energy. They keep you in a position of positive momentum.