05 December 2008

More from NZ:The T-Shirt Marketer's Guide to World Domination

Last week I blogged the patent application of Ryan Nicholls a 9-year old from NZ who has applied for a patent for an ingenious waste separator. Now I have something else to mention from NZ.

My friend, Amanda Lennon, who used to run the Huddersfield Business Mine and Velocity Bradford, now manages the Canterbury Innovation Manager in Christchurch New Zealand.  Amanada and her team have just produced a short video entitled  "The T-Shirt Marketer's Guide to World Domination" which you can view on YouTube. This film explains very simply and also very cleverly the process of innovaiton and commercialization. Though made from a NZ perspective it is relevant everywhere..

29 November 2008

Catching 'em Young

Ryan Nicholls, a 9 year old New Zealand child, has become his country's (and possibly the world's) youngest patent applicant. (see Michelle LotterPatent pending for young inventorNorth Shore Times, 29 Nov 2009 on Stuff.co.nz with thanks to Matthew Buchanan of "Promote the Progress blog" for bringing this story to my attention). Does anybody know of a younger patent applicant anywhere else in the world?  My interest in science and technology developed at about that age.   I never made an invention - much less applied for a patent - but I do remember helping to make a primitive computer using telephone exchange switches (this was in the 1960s) together with several other children and under a teacher's supervision when I was a bit older. So heartiest congratulations to young Ryan from England.

Ryan's invention appears to be a device for separating moisture from food scraps in domestic waste disposal systems. The scraps are removed to a container where they are aerated and eventually form a compost. According to the report, Ryan was fed up with taking out the compost, so he invented a machine that would do it automatically.

Considering its tiny population and remoteness, NZ has contributed more than most countries to science and technology. Ernest Rutherford, of course, but also the inventors of disposable syringes, aerial top dressing and bungee jumping to name just a few.  

Rutherford did his best work in Manchester. Manchester Inventors Group (the average age of which is somewhat greater than 9) has set up a working party to "make the most of their creative and innovative skills".   One of its proposals is a competition similar to the one that Ryan won at home. Should Ryan follow the footsteps of his illustrious compatriot to one of the world's greatest universities he should find a lot of like minded contemporaries with whom to compete and collaborate.

25 November 2008

New IP Clinic at Rotherham

We are delighted to announce a new IP clinic at Catcliffe near Rotherham.   We also have a new clinics website at www.nipc-clinics.co.uk providing a calendar and online booking form to make it easier to secure a slot.

We also have a new website for our training company at www.nipc-training.co.uk which will hold workshops that are likely to interest inventors, thier investors and professional advisors.

16 October 2008

How will the Economic Downturn affect Inventors

I spoke on this topic to the Leeds Inventors Club last night and have uploaded my slides to my Slideshare page

I warned that the coming downturn is likely to be deeper and more prolonged than others in recent years because there will be less scope for interest rate cuts and public expenditure. Inventors in the UK are likely to be affected by falling demand, reduced grant and loan funding, reduced  credit, caution on the part of angels, VCs and other investors, rising costs at least in the long term and increasing competition from the BRICs states (Brazil, Russia, India and China).

However, growth in the BRICs states will provide opportunities. Until now we have looked to those countries to outsource manufacturing and services. Those countries are also fast growing markets, powerhouses of research and development and increasingly they will be a source of investment for business in the UK.

There will also be opportunities here. We shall still need to save energy and protect the environment.   There will be plenty of demand for innovation in energy conservation, renewables and, of course, the Internet as it continues to develop and expand.   I reminded the audience that 1930s, the decade of the worst economic downturn in recent history, was also an age of  innovation producing all sorts of important inventions from ballpoint pens and sellotape to jet engines and radar. 

Economic difficulties are likely to make invention promoters that much more tempting. They are to be avoided like the plague. Stephen Nipper has started a discussion on what to do about these people on his blog ("Counseling (sic) Victims of Invention Promotion  Companies" 15 Oct 2008).