The Mind of the Inventor | Qualities of Inventors
How inventors think, what drives them, what makes them tick and what qualities make successful inventors successful




Successful inventors use analogies to stimulate ideas for innovative inventions.  “[One] of the thinking strategies ...is applying analogies -- Right?--how the vacuum tube is somewhat analogous to the transistor, or if you even go back in history, like Gutenberg — he knew about movable type, but the way he got the idea for the printing press is at a wine party when he saw how a winepress worked, and he applied that analogy of pressing and pressing paper, and that's now the printing press eventually was put into operation.” (Evan Schwartz, author of Juice: The Creative Fuel That Drives World Class Inventors, quoted in Ira Flatow, “Analysis: Inventors, invention and innovation,”Talk of the Nation, Science Friday, NPR, December 24, 2004).  Peruse other publications by Evan Schwartz.


Listen to this NPR interview about innovation and what makes successful inventors successful.  


Unhappiness with the status quo motivates inventors.  Inventors at a recent panel discussion at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology identified "unhappiness with the status quo" as one of the qualities as most essential for innovation.  What drives inventors? (David E. Gumpert, “Think Like an Inventor,” Business Week, May 25, 2007)

Keen sense of awareness.  “[A] keen sense of awareness can spark an idea that becomes a commercial product.  Vaughn North, a founding partner of Thorpe North & Western, told about 50 entrepreneurial-minded Edisons that his own invention to capture the energy of ocean waves came from watching how water moved through sand as he walked on a beach.  ‘We need to foster that high sensitivity if we want to be prolific inventors. The more you are aware, the more you understand it.’" Inventor character traits and qualities of inventors.  (Vaughn North, a founding partner of Thorpe North & Western quoted in Brice Wallace, “Awareness can spark ideas, inventor says,” Deseret Morning News, October 30, 2007)

Ideas push to be born.  “Ideas push you. Once you initiate them, they push to be born.”  (T. Dosho Shifferaw, Ethiopian immigrant and inventor of the Bowflex, one of the nation's best-known infomercial products, cited in Michael Fitzhugh, “Bowflex inventor stretches creativity for next big success,” East Bay Business Times, February 9, 2007)

What makes inventors so successful at thinking outside the box?  “So what is it that makes some people think outside the box while the rest of us are content to just color inside the lines? Why is it also that some companies are so good at fostering new ideas and new innovation, and some companies, they shun from any new ideas, and shun any innovation, and they don't want to hear anything about it.  Evan Schwartz calls it juice.  Creative energy.  It's what gets an inventor’s adrenaline flowing." What is in an inventor's mind? (Ira Flatow speaking about Evan Schwartz’s ideas about what drives invention and innovation quoted in Ira Flatow, “Analysis: Inventors, invention and innovation,” Talk of the Nation, Science Friday, NPR, December 24, 2004)  Discover best-selling books by Ira Flatow.  Read about Evan Schwartz and his discoveries about the secrets of what drives world-class inventors.

Independent inventors come up with revolutionary concepts because they aren’t constrained by conventional wisdom.  “That's why small inventors can come up with something revolutionary, it's because they're not restrained by conventional wisdom."  Inventrepreneur.  (Joyce Smith, Business Columnist, “Seeing your invention through: Entrepreneur week helps highlight some success stories of those who dream big,” Kansas City Star, February 27, 2007)

Where does an inventor's compulsion to create come from?  “[W]here does it come from? I mean, a lot of these inventors I interviewed for the book essentially said it came from when they were kids and they were taking apart radios and fixing cars, and it's this compulsion to create that they got since they were kids…”  (Evan Schwartz, author of Juice: The Creative Fuel That Drives World Class Inventors, quoted in Ira Flatow, “Analysis: Inventors, invention and innovation,” Talk of the Nation, Science Friday, NPR, December 24, 2004)  Discover other publications by Evan Schwartz.

Invent because you love it, not because you want to make money.  "If you are only in it for the money, wow, to me that's too risky.  Do it for love and not for money, because the love will always be there even if the money isn't.”  (Kurt Van Keppel, inventor of Xikar cigar cutters quoted in Joyce Smith, Business columnist, “Seeing your invention through: Entrepreneur week helps highlight some success stories of those who dream big,” Kansas City Star, February 27, 2007)  See the outcome of Kurt’s successful Xikar cigar cutters invention available online.