All humans are creative.
It takes a special kind of human to make an idea go from in one’s head, or simply spoken to our significant other, to going live on Amazon. Maybe you have what it takes and then procrastination kicks in.
Then you’re at the store, or driving in your car, or going through an airport, and you see it. You think “Why didn’t I think of that??!”
Or worse, you have that thought of “I actually thought of that!” You message the person you are for sure, 100% positive that you shared that idea with. “Remember, that thing I said would be SO GREAT to have?? Look, someone invented it!” Your friend probably doesn’t remember you saying it, but it’s true. Someone else had the same idea, they brought it to market, and right now they’re retired on a beach somewhere sipping a pina colada. Probably. Living the inventor’s life.
Surprisingly enough, most inventors tend to die penniless. I just made that up, but it seems believable. While some, like Sir James Dyson make their inventions into companies worth billions, others like the inventor of the post-it note may not get the millionaire, pina-colada-sipping beach bum lifestyle he deserves.
That can’t stop you from dreaming.
There are an infinite number of items left out there still to be invented. Whether it’s an advanced tactical board game like Settlers of Catan, now licensed to multiple publishers for well over a billion dollars worth of revenue, or the game Flushin’ Frenzy.
Even if you’re not inventing a boardgame, you’ve seen other things for your car or while traveling that are so obvious and ready to be invented by everyone.
We’ve rounded up 10 of our favorite items that will make you want to slap your forehead saying “Why didn’t I think of that?”
The “Why didn’t I think of that?!” Criteria
What is it about a product that makes you go “Why didn’t I think of that?” We think it has to do with how low hanging fruit they are. They don’t require some sort of crazy engineering or coding behind them. They’re just smart and taking on a problem we’ve all complained about at one time or another.
Complaints are the backbone of a great product or product idea. Constructive complaints. Complaining that you thought of these first won’t help you, but thinking about what really irks you about waking up in the morning, commuting to work, being at your desk, making dinner, or going to sleep in the evening will help you uncover the next awesome product, and you’ll be well on your way to sipping a planter’s punch in Martinique, even if you’re not an electrical engineer or top tier coder.
We believe almost all the products on this site are something that might make you say “Why didn’t I think of that?”. And we love that feeling. We see it as inspiring us to do something bigger and make a mark on the world. Hopefully you can find some inspiration from the following items!
Maybe you’ve been on the subway with your triple decaf skim latte, extra hot, and you can’t get a free hand to get your iPad out of your bag. This product solves problems. You’re not going to dump your $5 latte on the floor or on your fellow commuter, and that’s a win.
Rather than give up the latte or the subway ride, this inventor sought to come up with something that will make a difference. It’s not something I’ve thought of needing in the past. While that’s the case, it’s simple and obvious once you’ve seen it. It was born of necessity, at least someone’s necessity! You have to have a requirement to come up with the invention.
I used to think I didn’t come up with any good inventions because I don’t complain about much. One thing I think we can all seem to complain about is locking oneself out of the car. It never happens when you have a free afternoon, it’s always before that interview, or that one important presentation, or something.
Not only that, there are times you don’t want your keys with you. When I was in high school, one friend would head to the beach during the summer and leave his key on the front wheel of his car. Out of sight, sure. But one vigilant thief and the car is gone! Magnetic spare key boxes don’t always stay on, and that could result in your spare key not being there when you need it.
My friend from high school never came up with this idea, but maybe he could have. It’s so simple and yet totally unique.
I find myself using plastic bags or cling wrap to seal half eaten fruits and veggies. While it gets the job done, it’s not the most environmentally friendly way to keep my food safe. Every crumpled up ball of plastic wrap takes thousands of years to fully decompose after all. So I can’t help feeling a little guilty when I use it. Even if you’re not looking to save the environment, this idea is so simple and straightforward. It’ll definitely help you save food better. Everytime I see this I think, why didn’t I think of that?
Heatwaves seem to be even more prevalent than in the past. It used to be the dog days of summer, and now many days each month seem to be breaking records. While the headlines might not matter to those who are constantly wearing their fur coat outside year-round, the temperatures are still felt.
If you’ve ever looked at a warm stagnant dog bowl of water outside you may have thought to yourself, “Why can’t there be a doggy drinking fountain?” Well the inventor of this gadget beat you to it. Attach to a spigot and your dog can get water when they want it. Fresh and cool, straight from the tap. A little training may be necessary, and once trained you can rest easy even in the hottest dog days of summer.
Whether you’re on the streets of Rio de Janeiro or Madrid or Paris, you have to be vigilant of pickpockets and thieves. Few things can set your vacation back quite like losing a wallet or other valuables.
And if you’ve ever thought to put those in a sock, this inventor is one step ahead of you. He had his wallet stolen, ruining a trip. Rather than let it put a damper on his whole life, he got inspired and came up with socks with pockets. Anyone could have thought of this product, and only one person made it real. They’re bound to save your next trip from despair and loss.
Wrapping the leash around your hand is dangerous. Well, your Pomeranian probably isn’t going to take off while you’ve got it looped around your hand, but your labrador retriever is pure muscle. If he sees a squirrel and wants to go running, you’d go with him. And you’ll end up faceplanting on the sidewalk or dislocating your shoulder, or both. If wrapping the leash is out, this invention is here to save the day. I saw it and immediately thought, now that’s smart. Why didn’t I think of that?
Whether or not you have a little one helping you in the kitchen. This handy contraption will make sure they can stay involved. No need to sit on the counter. Or maybe they’re aiming to be the next Top Chef Jr, they want to be able to do things on their own.
If you’ve ever seen them reaching for a cupboard trying to get that plate, mug or something from the hard to reach spots. your heart might have swelled. You probably thought, it’d be great if we had a step stool right there when we needed it. The step ladder is always off in some closet or the basement, and it’s in the way when it’s not being used. The inventor of this pull-out drawer seemed to have that same problem. They made something of it and now their child can get up to counter or hard to reach cupboard height and be empowered.
If you’ve ever gone through the McDonalds drive thru and snuck some fries while on the road, you’ve probably let out an expletive or two. Butterfingers or not, things will tend to fall through that crevice between your driver’s seat and the center console. The so-called “carmuda triangle” that eats everything: french fries, coins, and worst case scenario: your cell phone.
That gap never seems to allow for a hand to fit in, no matter how thin your hand is. Rather than complain or swear, this keeps things from dropping down. Pretty darn smart and hopefully this inventor is enjoying the Caribbean! We spend so much time in our cars, what are you complaining about while you sit in bumper to bumper traffic every morning and afternoon?
The Post-it Note, Velcro, both are synonymous with a brand. Sometimes branding doesn’t go hand-in-hand with a great product idea. The inventor had a great idea. I’m sure inspired by a daily commute. They didn’t want that to stop them from diving into a great book. With one hand on a hand hold and another on that novel they just had to finish. It’s so straightforward and simple, looking at it you can’t help but wonder out loud, “Why didn’t I think of that?”
Trying to get a dog to look at the camera is futile. Snapping your fingers, calling its name, whistles, and dancing, nothing seems to make a difference. We’ve all been there doing that song and dance. Whether we know the dog or not, it doesn’t matter.
The inventor of this product must have tired of doing it all in vain every time. But they weren’t ready to give up on the perfect pooch portrait. They thought of this attachment with something that will hold their dog’s attention every time. It’s so simple and obvious, you can’t help but wonder why you didn’t come up with it. And as we all want great glamour shots with our dog, it’s something anyone could have thought of.
These are some items we find inspiring. We all should have thought of these. The best way forward is to keep complaining. Get nit-picky about your daily life and the world around you and think about what would make things just a little bit better. If something will make your life a little bit better, maybe others will want it too and you could be making money from it. Then you’re well on your way to that early retirement on the beach of your dreams.
Keep complaining and dreaming. Happy Hunting!
Originally published on the NeedvWant.com blog.