Many people believe that one needs to be an one-of-a-kind Einstein in order to come up with inventions. That is not true. Furthermore, it is also expected that in order to obtain a patentable invention one needs to invent something new in the same ballpark as inventing the wheel. That is not true either.
Many inventions today, may be small improvements of an existing technique that seem to be non-important, but solves a problem in a new and inventive way that improves something (performance, reducing cost etc.) with an amount that it has a business value to be protected by a patent.
So can anyone be an inventor? I guess so. What you need is knowledge of the subject or topic you are working on. A study made by the authority Tillväxtanalys, 2011 about “Svenska uppfinnare” (in Swedish), indicated that a majority of Swedish inventors where highly educated (Master degree and PhD:s). Looking at my co-inventors throughout my career, I will say that this is probably true for corporate inventors working at high-tech companies. However, it is very important to understand that an invention does not need to be very high-tech. Many inventions are clever (and looking at them afterwards, simple) solutions to well-known problems, but the solution is made in a novel and inventive way.
So I will definitely say that high formal education is not the only success factor for being an inventor. I believe that it is equally important that one has an open mind and a genuine interest in the subject/topic you are working with. In the next few blog posts I will start to reveal some of my secrets about how to become a prolific inventor. Hang on ….