Collaboration = groupthink?

I thought I should write down some stuff, again, about Inventing.

There is a great deal of horseshit about along the general lines of

a) Ideas are worthless, only implementation has any value
b) The only way to be creative is via an artistic process and that must be collaborative.

I’m not sure why these myths persist, but my suspicion is that it’s because most people just don’t have many ideas…so their view that these are either unimportant, or as a result of groups, tends to dominate.

I think collaboration and implementation are both great (and often very important), but let’s not kid ourselves that they are essential -or that good ideas are valueless.


Ever in search of ways to generate income from inventing (it really shouldn’t be this difficult) I’ve been having some interesting discussions with the Patreon legal people. I wonder who actually reads the small print?

They have made some valiant efforts to make clear what their user agreement actually means. Those cute cartoons, that artsy people will surely warm to, and all those downhome, monosyllabic explanations must surely indicate trustworthiness (Don’t do bad stuff ).

Until you come across this:
You will indemnify us from all losses and liabilities, including legal fees, that arise from these terms or relate to your use of Patreon.

So, creatives, be warned. They won’t be so cuddly when some patent troll starts suing them. If you upload anything which a troll thinks can score them a buck, by threatening legal action, you pay Patreon’s legal costs.

Guest post -Rob Tillaart

Rob Tillaart, a good friend of IOTD over the years, recently sent me some of his ideas for inclusion here:

Saw this one -and got the following ideas:

1) connecting air craft carriers

suppose you have 2 air craft carriers, and you would “connect” them back to back, the landing strip would become twice as long.
So instead of making one big ACC it might be cheaper to create multiple that can connect.
The connection itself should be removable in seconds in case of emergencies.

2) drones capture a plane
imagine several small but strong drones connecting electromagnetically to an airplane (esp in trouble)
plane stops engines and drones fly him home. Drones can be reused and do not need to
have a long range.

After a few days I like the connected aircraft carrier better and better. If hit in battle, big chance one only need to replace 50% to be on full strength again. It could decrease “operational” costs in the end. Of course the principle can be used for other large vessels too.

3) Disaster relief

Hospital vessels that can be “small first aid” of just “bed” boats that connect and grow and eventually include special facilities when needed. These could customize aid on demand e.g. for earthquake areas.

A small number of small “strip-ships” can construct an airstrip on demand, as the first boats arrive an emergency strip is available with minimal facilities and as more strip-ships arrive a “larger” airport can be created. In fact a whole city …

After the emergency period the floating facilities can be scaled down gradually.

4) Submarines
Submarines could start as head-tail only and extend in the middle with segments (Lets call them sub-sets 🙂 Instead of connecting modules in a shipyard, why not connect them under water. No law in nature forbids it…

5) Containerships
Imagine an large containership that can split up in a number of smaller ships. These smaller ships can enter smaller harbours far more easily (or even at all). Also a large containership could split up before going through the suez or panama canal.

My thanks to Rob for his continuing interest and creativity. If you’d like to write a guest post or contribute to IOTD in any way, do please get in touch via the Hire Me link, above.

…and we’re back!

It’s been a while, but now IOTD is back. The truth is, I’ve been just about bursting with ideas and I simply don’t have enough time to turn them all into products myself.

In the interim, I’ve rediscovered how little I like cold calling, created many working prototypes, played with online marketing and completed a handful of product development projects. There have been a few ridiculous forays into the world of product telesales, lots of articles about inventing and several pro bono startup adventures.

All of this experience will eventually feed itself into this next phase of IOTD. There may even be a video or two. I really hope you enjoy this material and if you decide that you need any inputs to your own product ideation, please get in touch via my commercial site



Indeterminate hiatus

About seven years ago, I began posting a new idea here almost every day.

I expect to continue to have and record new ideas, but sadly these must remain unpublished -at least for the forseeable future.

This results from my need to avoid commercial conflicts with a forthcoming business venture I’m involved in.

I’d like to express my sincere thanks to everyone who has commented on this work (even those who had better ideas than me!)

If you’d like to remain in touch, do please do so via

I leave you, for now, with the important words of Alan Kay:

The best way to predict the future is to invent it.


Reader invention: Advertoasting

Here are a couple of genius ideas from readers Andy, Alan, Rob and Alex (with permission, of course)…

An internet enabled toaster that toasts customised advertisements on
your bread using a laser.

The toaster will be provided for free and paid for via the advertisers

Prior art: Scott van Haastrecht’s Super Mega Toaster

A thought from this morning. If the air in a Dyson Airblade hand drier
was heated up could a slice of toast be toasted more evenly?

I love these and think they are original (I have seen somewhere a memo toaster, via which family members can get their calendar entries and reminders to appear on toast).

It might be cool to print a QR code thing on one’s toast, so that you could insert it into a ‘spread’ machine which would read the code and squirt on jam or peanut butter…


I’ve begun selling a new online service, InventorMentoring.

For a modest fee, I’m running one-to-one support sessions for Designers, Inventors, Students, Makers…anyone with a serious interest in making money from their ideas.

It’s all completely confidential and there is no obligation on anyone (other than honesty).

So, get in touch today, or pass the link above to someone who would benefit from my (several decades’) experience.


IOTD ebook

Dear Readers,
There is still time to bag your limited-edition copy of the new IOTD ebook which talks about how you might boost your own ideas output and plan to make some money from the process. It’s only £2.95 -download it here.

(Ideal Xmas gift? Em probably not…but it might actually be useful to you, or a friend, in 2013. If you must have hardcopy, I can arrange to get these made up, but the price is silly. If anyone knows a low-cost source of competent, on-demand printing, do please let me know. Thanks, Patrick pra (at)

IOTD is 6 years old

It’s six years ago since I started writing this blog -that’s one invention pretty much every day since then.

To celebrate, I’m selling an ebook which talks a bit about how you might boost your own ideas output and plan to make some money from the process. It’s only £2.95 -download it here.

(The hand-tooled, vellum-bound, illuminated collector’s edition will be a bit more expensive, so I’d go for the 50-page, 2Mb .pdf right now!).