What type of inventor are you?

Mar 16, 2015 | Idea, Innovation Resources

At some point in time most of us have thought “what a simple idea! Why didn’t I think of that?”  Historically an inventor with an idea had a challenging and expensive path to get their product to market.  Today consumer markets are shifting, with crowdfunding and crowdsourcing, consumers are starting to direct more of what is produced.  This shift in consumerism is making it easier for anyone with an idea to get their concept onto the market, and the popularity of shows like Shark Tank are turning more and more people into inventors.  However, not everyone is cut out for making it as an inventor and not every idea is worth pursuing.  These changes are also creating new classes of inventors.

Idea Generator

This is the type of person who has a list of ideas for improving existing products or even creating a few new ones. Many idea generators have no interest or ability to create prototypes.  Websites like Edison Nation and Quirky are perfect for these people, there is very little time and money involved in seeing if the idea is viable.


This person loves the creation process, refining their prototypes and explaining in excruciating detail all the nuances of their product idea. Their passion is around seeing their product become reality, but don’t focus on how it happens.  Once they see their ideas as perfected, they are on to creating the next one.  Licensing is a good option for the Inventor because they collect royalties on the idea and keep inventing.

Entrepreneurial Inventor

In addition to the inventor characteristics listed above, this person will invest significant time and money into marketing the idea to anyone who will listen. Their passion is around being the person who makes their product a reality; they want to have their name on the patent.  Their passion makes them good “sales” people for the idea, but frequently struggle to close the sale.   Entrepreneurial Inventors may start businesses around their product but will eventually wind up selling or licensing the idea.

Enterprise Inventor

In addition to all the characteristics listed above for Entrepreneurial Inventors, this person will enter into the entire business supply chain from manufacturing to distribution, sales and eventually line extensions.   The real passion for this person becomes less about the product itself and more in the process of building a business around it.  This person takes on the greatest amount of financial and personal risk.

It is important that anyone with an idea take the time to determine what type of inventor they are, as it will save time, energy and money in the long run. Taking that idea to market may require some help and a quick search of the internet will bring up a long list of invention help companies.  Research any company you find, as there are reported cases of invention help scams.  You can get more information from the USPTO here.

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