Thinking of an invention means knowing what questions to ask yourself. What problems are people facing and what can you think of to solve one of those problems. Most products on the market attempt to solve a problem. You have a headache (problem) -- take an aspirin (solution). You're bored (problem) -- play a board game (solution). Once you have focused on a problem, you will know what you want to invent a solution to. Think about existing solutions in a particular area of your interest or expertise, and look for an as yet unsolved problem. Here are some tips about how to focus your thinking in order to come up with an idea.

  • Brainstorming The process of invention involves brainstorming. Think about a problem and just note down any ideas at all that come into your head. Then look at each idea and thoroughly examine its possibilities.
  • Flexibility Flexible thinking allows you to see and consider all possibilities. All of a sudden you'll look at a problem from different angles and see it in different ways.
  • Thinking critically Critical thinking allows you to compare and contrast any existing solutions. You can also break down a problem into small units. This will help you to see the different aspects of a problem [source: Church].
  • Fine tune your thinking skills Try to think of as many uses as possible for a common object, such as a brick, in about ten minutes. This will give you practice in thinking of ideas in a limited space of time and help hone your thinking processes.
  • Stay positive Don't be discouraged that even though you may produce a lot of ideas, it seems to take a long time to find one that might work. Remember the famous inventor Thomas Alva Edison had 3500 notebooks filled with ideas at the time of his death [source: Michalko].