t h e m a y f i l e s is foremost a family blog, chronicling everyday life. Life including natural, healthy eating (with recipes thrown in at random), home educating (with ideas popping up sporadically), an attempt to homestead on .2 acres (with very meager yields), raising 3 of 4 children with a rare genetic disorder, and lots of highly personal family triumphs and failures. You may also find an eclectic array of musings on politics, exercise, sewing, emergency preparedness, backyard chickens, and religion. This blog isn't a campaign to glorify anyone or anything. Just simply a record.


How to Find Your Big Idea

Before you read this be sure you understand I have zero expertise. No credentials whatsoever. But just maybe that is why you should read this. Because aren't most of us totally amateurs with no experience, nothing special to attach to our name? And if I have a shot with my little idea, that means you do too!

So here are the steps in the evolution of my Big Idea.

Let me start by saying I can't take all the credit. My husband has been constantly prodding me for 10 years about my idea. "What is your idea Rebecca?" He would say this over and over to me. My response was always the same, "You are the idea person. I am the book person." I never imagined I had an idea in me.

I am living proof, everyone does. We have yet to see how big this idea actually turns out to be...

Step #1

Find something that bugs you. Something that bothers you just about everyday.

...For me it was markers. I was annoyed with the lost caps, the wasted money, the mess. I kept trying to stop buying them, but my students and kids wanted them. The colors are brighter, you can write all over your body, come on, what kid doesn't love that?

Step #2

Make sure it really annoys other people too.

At thanksgiving, I heard my 60-year-old Father-in-Law complaining that he couldn't find 2 caps from the brand new set of markers he had just bought for the grandkids. It hit me then, this doesn't just bother me. I then started asking everyone I knew if they had the problem. They did.

Step #3

Let the problem sit and fester.

...I definitely don't think about markers every moment of my life. That would not be fulfilling. I also try not to think of my annoyances all the time. What fun would that be? But I did let this problem just sit in the back of my mind. I was aware of it.

I came up with several different ideas first. But decided against them. One was a flip-top marker (since then Crayola came out with one). Flip tops didn't solve my problem because it seemed awkward, the caps could break, and as my husband brought up, I didn't want to compete with marker companies.

Step #4

Be aware of all Possible Solutions

Few ideas are completely new and fresh. While I was thinking about this problem of the course of a couple months, our oldest Ellery needed to be seen at Primary Children's Medical Center in SLC. While we were in the waiting room, sitting on a table was a big thick block of wood. It had 10 holes drilled into it and the caps glued inside. My husband pointed it out to me and said, here is the solution to your problem. But it wasn't. I remember in high school my chemistry teacher had made something similar. I needed something not just to keep my caps together, but I wanted it to be:

  • Safe - no sharp edges, nothing heavy, okay to put in mouths
  • Small - Little enough to fit in my craft box, or in a drawer
  • Portable - Easily thrown in my purse, brought to church or in the car
  • Universal - It needed to fit all cap sizes and require no glue
That experience however perked my imagination and later the Cap Trapper was born.

Step #5

Make sure no one else has had your "big idea"and especially be sure no one has patented it!

I did an exhaustive search to make sure no one had thought of my idea. Once I was convinced it was time to move forward. But that is for a different entry!

1 comment:

Lynette said...

A big THANK YOU for "documenting" your experience from the ground up. I am one of those crazy "inventor" people who has just never had the guts to take an idea to the next level. Our youngest will be starting kindergarten in the fall and I keep telling myself that I must take a giant leap of faith. So...I appreciate your "go-for-itness" and willingness to share what you have learned. I just need to DO IT.