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Thread: Sharing ideas

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    just me duncan drennan's Avatar
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    Sharing ideas

    I've had this theory for a while that often engineers (or people in general) hold onto their ideas tightly and don't share them, mainly because they feel that they hold some high intrinsic value. This is the source of patents, and so on. Often, I think, good ideas are lost because they were never shared, but instead kept, and not acted on. A good idea not acted on is essentially nothing - vapour.

    Seth Godin just happens to have articulated this well.

    History is littered with inventors who had "great" ideas but kept them quiet and then poorly executed them. And history is lit up with do-ers who took ideas that were floating around in the ether and actually made something happen. In fact, just about every successful venture is based on an unoriginal idea, beautifully executed.

    So, if you've got ideas, let them go. They're probably holding you back from the hard work of actually executing.

    Read the full blog post
    [SIGPIC]Engineer Simplicity[/SIGPIC]
    Turn ideas into products | The Art of Engineering blog

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    One thing I have noticed - There are lots of people with ideas, but people that have the ability to "make things happen" seem to be a scarcer breed.
    Last edited by Dave A; 14-Sep-07 at 08:37 AM.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Platinum Member Chatmaster's Avatar
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    One thing that I feel is true is that when you share ideas you often end up with something much better. Then again you can probably end up without something better. I often see that the greatest minds keep their ideas to themselves and we end up never to see or experience their fantastic concepts and ideas. My father is one of those that had (as a retired engineer) a great concept on how formula 1 cars could increase their power delivery by almost 70% and reduce fuel consumption by a large percentage as well. The irony is that the idea is very simple and basically one of the parts needs to be replaced. The idea was revolutionary, but will never see the light of day because he never shared it with anyone. Today at 72 he hardly talks about it and I wish I understood the detail the day he actually did talked to me.

    What is also amazing is to see the amount of patents registered with the US patents offices. It is incredibly entertaining to read through these patents, but most importantly it gets the brain juices going reading through it. I often find that I think of ideas of my own that many times is completely unrelated to the patent I am reading, but it was able to trigger an idea.

    Perhaps patents should be openly discussed in a world public forum and we will be surprised on the positive effect it will have on our technology. But then again we are so afraid that our ideas might make someone else allot of money...

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    just me duncan drennan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chatmaster View Post
    Perhaps patents should be openly discussed in a world public forum and we will be surprised on the positive effect it will have on our technology. But then again we are so afraid that our ideas might make someone else allot of money...
    My current attitude is that there are some things that I will definitely do, some I would like to do and a lot that I will never actually put the effort into to make materialise. The ones that I will definitely do I discuss rarely, the ones I'll never do are free for anyone to do what they want with, and the rest I'm still toying with what the best approach is.

    The biggest problem I have is discussing the idea openly, and then someone somehow manages to patent, or apply some other protection to the idea so that no one else is able to use it. That is the worse possible outcome, in my opinion.
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    Platinum Member Chatmaster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dsd View Post
    The biggest problem I have is discussing the idea openly, and then someone somehow manages to patent, or apply some other protection to the idea so that no one else is able to use it. That is the worse possible outcome, in my opinion.
    Absolutely true. The irony is also that most of those ideas people steal from others and patent it, never materialize either. It is truly sorry that this is the case but I guess it is part of human nature?

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    just me duncan drennan's Avatar
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    I suppose you just have to attach an appropriate license, e.g. creative commons, which would prohibit that sort of action. Theoretically (I think) patents can't be public knowledge, but some small twists of the details and that may make it patentable - at least in some countries.
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    Platinum Member Chatmaster's Avatar
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    You raise a good point Duncan.

    I honestly do not know into how much detail they go with evaluating the patents but I am sure that they do have to check if their is similarities between patents in most countries, what is the use of having a patent then?

    Something else I have been wondering about is the possibility to re register a patent from the US in South Africa, will it work? Do you have to register patents world wide in each individual country? I know there is some sort of International agreement amongst a whole lot countries that we will not infringe on trademarks, but would like to know more about the conditions on trademarks. Perhaps our resident lawyer can help out a bit?

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    just me duncan drennan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chatmaster View Post
    Something else I have been wondering about is the possibility to re register a patent from the US in South Africa, will it work? Do you have to register patents world wide in each individual country?
    This is actually one of the things that I don't understand about patents. I know that you can get worldwide patents. Often people only patent the idea in the country of origin and the countries it will be manufactured and sold in. I'm not sure about the extent of a South African patent, or what the world wide agreements are.
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    The Institute of Inventors (www.iii.org.za) is a great place for inventors to network, chat about their ideas and "how to get the ball rolling". They hold monthly meetings in Johannesburg.

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    Email problem Missnancyalex's Avatar
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    I only want to share one thing "Great idea’s are come from nowhere and go nowhere!” by Nancy Alex
    It looks stupid but true reality…

    Chatmaster duncan drennan

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