Find out where great ideas come from in this “delightful account of how inventors do what they do” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review).
A father cleans up after his toddler and imagines a cup that won’t spill. An engineer watches people using walkie-talkies and has an idea. A doctor figures out how to deliver patients to the operating room before they die.
By studying inventions like these—the sippy cup, the cell phone, and an ingenious hospital bed —we can learn how people imagine their way around “impossible” problems to discover groundbreaking answers. Pagan Kennedy reports on how these enduring methods can be adapted to the twenty-first century, as millions of us deploy tools like crowdfunding, big data, and 3-D printing to find hidden opportunities.
Inventology uses the stories of inventors and surprising research to reveal the steps that produce innovation. Recent advances in technology and communication have placed us at the cusp of a golden age; it’s now more possible than ever before to transform ideas into actuality. Inventology is a must-read for designers, artists, makers—and anyone else who is curious about creativity. By identifying the steps of the invention process, Kennedy reveals the imaginative tools required to solve our most challenging problems.
“There’s ample interest here even for readers who aren’t actively inventing anything.” —The Boston Globe
Kennedy (Black Livingstone), former innovation columnist for the New York Times Magazine, examines the process of invention, wondering whether there is any formula for success. Kennedy interviews more than 100 inventors in different fields, asking who really does the work of invention, what we can learn from data on successful inventions, and what can be gained from emerging technologies such as 3-D printers. Along the way, she provides fascinating studies of numerous innovations, such as the rolling suitcase and color printing. Kennedy divides the book into five sections, each exploring a different strategy for invention: finding problems, discovery, prophecy, connecting, and empowerment. She also looks at how creative people channel frustration into solutions and explores the role of serendipity. Her interviewees recommend ways to think ahead of the curve and overcome self-doubt. The most absorbing chapter centers on "cross-pollinators" people who carry ideas from one domain into another, thereby enabling new solutions. This book offers a new perspective into the process of invention that will inform and illuminate.