Part one: Bringing it into reality
So you have done it. You have come up with that million dollar idea, the next big thing. However, there are unfortunately a couple of steps between coming up with that idea and coming down the grand stairwell at the glorious product launch party held in your mansion.
First off, write it down. It may seem like you wont forget it, but for the good of your sanity take the extra half a second to ensure that is the case. Feel free to also use this opportunity to flesh out the idea a little bit, brainstorm how you intend to execute it, market it, etc. This is usually one of the most creative times so take advantage of it. Date and sign the bottom of your notes so you have proof and a timeline of when you came up with the concept. If you need assistance with documentation, feel free to check out resources on how to document here and how to utilize documentation resources here.
Secondly, make sure nobody else has done it. This may be a potentially depressing Google search, but it is a lot better to do this on the front end than be pitching it down the line and discover it wasn’t worth it all along.
Once that is complete, it’s time to go about the process of building a prototype; depending on the extent of your technical background, and how much it lines up with your idea, this may be difficult but run with that sucker if you can. If you need assistance getting started with electronics, a complete guide can be found here.
Added bonus of building is it will give you an idea of how feasible it is, how much it will cost, how much time it would take, and other variables.
If this is not your forte, you don’t have time or the project idea is very complicated, then consider finding some partners. Ideally one would take a more casual route and try to find a friend with the necessary expertise, but if your budget allows you can also find people/companies you can commission to do it for you. This may seem like a tough way to go about it, but depending on the idea it could be worth it. Think of it this way, in the six years it might take you to get that Electrical Engineering and Computer Science degree someone probably would already have come up with your concept.
And if you feel your idea is not ridiculously outside the bounds of your capabilities and you have some free time, try to give it a go! Break it down into steps and then check online for resources to help with each one. Another great strategy is to find related projects or projects online that perform part or one of the tasks your idea requires and try to cobble them together to create something new! (Instructables.com is one of the many great resources for this).
Stay tuned for part two where we will be talking about Kickstarter, inventor resources, and overall what you can do once you have a prototype!