Constructive discontent

It sounds like an oxymoron, but constructive discontent is what lies behind many inventions.  The spark of invention arises when someone with the right mindset (an “inventor”) is able to observe the shortcomings in a product or service, not in a negative way but by looking forward, with the feeling that “this could be done better”.

So what is that mindset?  How to be an inventor?  I believe everyone experiences constructive discontent and has the potential to be an inventor – but most people identify a potential solution to a problem without considering it an “invention”, and then decide not to do anything with it.

What’s special about inventors is not their ability to have ideas, but the decision they make to pursue their ideas.  Most other people, often for very good reasons, have great ideas but don’t choose to pursue them.

But beware lest the spark of invention leads to solutionitis.  Whatever the invention, it is important to review the problem definition (what problem am I trying to solve?), then to think divergently (creatively) of other candidate solutions before converging on the optimum solution – which may not be quite the same as the original invention.  This is the engineering approach, and can prevent much wasted time.