After years of despairing over the lack of understanding people have of developing a new invention, Alastair Swanwick, CEO of Innovate Product Design, invented and designed a free App to help with just that.  It is called the Invention Calculator and it is a first-of-its-kind, educational tool to help the individual innovator understand the global market potential and financial implications when exploring the different routes to take a new product idea to market.  We sat down with Alastair to ask him a few questions about the Invention Calculator App.

1. How did you come about creating this app?

Having been in the industry for over ten years, I have seen many inventors come into our office saying their new idea or new invention is going to make them millions of dollars, without conducting any thorough research into whether their invention idea has the potential for success. Will they become millionaires with their idea? More often than not they probably won’t as it requires a number of factors to come together in order for that to happen. These include the idea, financial backing, a good team of people behind it and a lot of commitment, blood sweat and tears from the developer, but most importantly it needs a market that will be willing to buy the product.

People can be so enthusiastic and headstrong about their new invention that they fail to properly research and consider whether a market truly exists. The Invention Calculator will enable the user to decide whether their idea could potentially return a healthy profit, or even be the start of a successful million dollar business.

We have had many clients who have had great success with their ideas. What we have learnt from working with our clients over the years is that there needs to be a considered approach to developing an idea, and there is a development route one can take to protect the inventor from making the wrong decisions or an expensive mistake.

2. How does this app help inventors?

What it does foremost is that it takes the user through a number of different steps and considerations in terms of potential market size and make up for their invention idea. It also prompts the user to choose a potential route to market, whether it is self manufacturing or licensing. All of these iterations have an impact on the potential profit of an idea, but also has an impact on how much involvement and commitment the inventor will have. It helps would-be-inventors by making them aware of the number of different decisions that need to be made when developing an idea and will make them think about how much commitment they are able to give to a project. It also helps the inventor gauge what the potential is for his or her new invention and/or idea and whether it is worth pursuing.

3. Do you think inventors will find this app useful?
Yes, I think inventors will find it useful because instead of just saying “I know my invention is going to make millions of dollars” they can now realistically see what they could make with their invention. It also encourages them to think about the target market for their invention idea, which is sometimes overlooked in the early stages of developing an invention idea.

4. The Invention Calculator app states the global market potential and financial implications, isn’t this hard to calculate without an actual product or market research?
The new App can calculate the profit an inventor may receive by inputting the age, gender, geographic area and the price the consumer would pay for the product. The calculator uses a formula to calculate the estimated manufacturing cost and therefore the gross profit, and then demonstrates how this varies, dependent on the different business model or route to market that the inventor chooses to apply.
The device doesn’t make predictions but demonstrates the numbers of potential consumers by country, age and gender as well as exploring the theoretical financial outcomes when adjusting the market share percentage. It is intended to be more of an educational tool than anything else, to help people understand the numbers in the global market and the different business models being utilized.

The challenge is then to design the invention/new product using materials and manufacturing processes to ensure that the cost to produce equates to 20% of the proposed amount that a consumer would be prepared to pay.

5. What are your plans for this Invention Calculator app?
We have launched it in the US and plan to launch it to the UK and Europe shortly. We are also working on version 2 to improve a few things. We have already received great feedback from a number of people in the inventing community and plan to continue to promote it as a useful tool for anyone who comes up with a lot of invention ideas.

Anyone who has ever had an idea for an invention should try it, it’s free to download and intuitive to use.  Everyone has ideas or comes up with them all the time and the Invention Calculator will be able to help those inventors see the potential.

The Invention Calculator has been designed exclusively by Innovate Product Design and has a patent pending in the US.  It is free to download to any smartphone from the App Store, Google Play Store or directly from the company’s website (view here)

Innovate Product Design comprises award-winning design engineers, researchers, business development professionals and Intellectual Property experts, with experience in all areas of IP, product design and manufacture. With this in-house expertise, they can take ideas from paper to product, providing individual inventors with the best chance of success at market.