We all start life as a fountain of questions, but we often learn to stop asking them, sometimes because we feel that growing up means we need to provide answers.
Assume that your idea is not entirely new. This requires Humility - if you didn’t find ANYTHING that looked like your idea, then refer to Principle 1 - keep asking "why" until you find something.
We are wired to trust our “gut feel” - this is an extension of our survival instinct - but when it comes to IDEAS, only facts matter. Your idea will almost always feel new, but this is almost certainly a result of what you don’t know. It is overwhelmingly unlikely that any idea has not been thought of and recorded before at least in part. This doesn't mean you should ignore gut feel about PEOPLE, which may give you some valid warnings about when you are being mislead... But if your gut tells you to trust someone because of their presentation or credentials, put that aside and VERIFY FACTS.
Realise and exploit the value of the enormous and detailed record of human accomplishments that we call the Global Stock of Knowledge - including Patents, Articles, Scientific Papers, Books, Videos, and more.
It means that not only were you as insightful as those bright sparks that came before you, but also that you can stand on their shoulders and reach higher more quickly than you could from scratch. It also is the only way to establish undeniable freedom to operate.
Humanity will never run out of problems, so we will never run out of ideas to solve them.
When we have an idea, it’s easy to see it as a part of who we are - this can be called “identifying with your idea” - and this can cause us to ignore facts, sometimes without even realising it.
Who we are doesn’t matter - it’s all about the process. But this doesn’t mean you are not important just because you haven’t made a novel contribution (yet). Practice and master the “startup process” even when the solution is not new - just remember that this is education, not innovation.
There are lots of ways of expressing this - fail fast, use lean methodologies, iterate, pivot. But under all of them is this simple trait of appreciating that resources are precious - your time on Earth especially - and we should spend as little as possible on each idea before committing to them. Unfortunately, this is exactly the opposite message sent by the New Zealand Government’s drive to increase R&D spending to 2% GDP. Don’t be suckered by someone who says they “Fail Fast” but without being able to explain their process - that is just "picking winners", and those odds are terrible.
Ideas are not “investable”. If you understand the odds, you will see that R&D is a cost, not an investment.
Stop obsessing about what is new and what isn’t. Let your love for your fellow humans and your desire to solve their problems be your motivation instead of letting your ego trap you in its desire to be "the inventor" - you are important and unique regardless of your timing. Get out there and solve problems and you will create yourself a life worth living.
"Good ideas can come from anywhere." - Sir Paul Callaghan
This one could not be simpler - Innovation is Invention plus Exploitation. In this context, exploiting is a good thing, as in "to get the benefit from". This is an important reminder that an invention that never gets out into the world to solve problems wasn't really an Innovation! More importantly it reminds us that you can Innovate simply by exploiting someone else's invention. In fact, given the option, you should always do this before doing your own inventing, as there is far less cost and risk, gaining you a competitive advantage.
R&D is the generation of new knowledge which adds to the Global Stock of Knowledge, NOT simply adding to personal or local knowledge. This can seem counter-intuitive: if you discover at any point that what you are doing was done before, you can no longer call what you are doing "R&D"; as far as progress towards better solutions goes, it is more accurate to simply call it "wasted resource". (This is not taking into account skills learned/connections made by those participating which should be made clearly distinct - resource spent towards that goal should be called education/training, not R&D).
This is a fun one - the dictionary definition of "invent" is "to create something that has never been created before". One of the first examples on the Cambridge dictionary website says: "Gas lamps became obsolete when electric lighting was invented." NO, "Gas lamps became obsolete when electric lighting was INNOVATED". At the moment of the successful first shining of an electric light, nothing changed at all for the poor gas lamps. It was only when the electric light invention was EXPLOITED - commercially available - that gas lamps began to get snuffed out.
This example shows why we are so pedantic in carrying out this process. Language can set us up to fail before we ever even get going.
This is the term used in academia to describe the same process that we do at Invented Again. In IP terms, this is usually called "Prior Art Search".
Having "Freedom to Operate" means that you can commercially exploit your idea
We approach all ideas first from the perspective of the problem being solved. If you care about solving the problem and not just the reward you expect, then you will want to know everything that has been done so that you can meaningfully contribute to humanity's stock of knowledge. Don't waste your days reinventing.
Using an old fashioned world view that is still held by most that "Business is war", you can think of our process as arming and armouring yourself before battle. Knowing that you have FTO because there is art tha tpre-dates your competitor's registered IP gives you both a good defensive position (like holding a "mirror up to the emperor" so he sees he has no clothes) and offensive position (I can exploit the fact that you have to recover more cost and beat you in price and speed to market).