Avoid the Moses syndrome

An idea that everybody ignores will often not make it very far. Many ideas need a willing coalition of people to help improve and nurse the idea through execution. This means that boring ideas or ideas that are too strange to be understood, often never take off.

A metaphor. However, this is not enough. Moses was a great leader. He managed to take the children of Israel, as slaves, out of Egypt and form them into a nation. However, he was unable to do that last important step of bringing them to the promised land.

Getting back to idea space. An idea needs to be interesting and palatable enough to be picked up. However, in order to reach that “promised land” of execution, the idea needs something more. It needs to be able to focus and guide execution. Sometimes, those properties of ideas that help it take off, are not the ones that lead to ultimate success. This divergence is common in scientific ideas, where an idea may be proposed because it works and gain traction because it has an internal beauty. For some ideas, the same property which allow sit to take off, also helps it succeed.

Does your idea check both boxes: take-off and arrival?

The pleasure of insight

One of the fun things about working as a patent attorney is the sheer variety that walks through the door. One is always in the state of not-knowing. And then, suddenly, in the state of yes knowing. This happens multiple times a day. This process of going from not knowing to knowing often includes one or more moments of insight. It is not easy to tell what is more pleasurable – the “aha” moment or the sense of coherence which follows.

In any case, the whole process of drafting a patent application is loaded with “aha” moments, small and large. The formalizing of drafting claims requires a sense for coherence, as claims must be coherent. And that is what “aha” moments do – allow you to reassemble the parts you have to provide a more essential understanding.

Not all insights are of the “aha” type. Some are of the “awe” type, when the significance of the new becomes clear. Some are of the “wonder” type, when the potential far reaching consequences of the idea start to appear.

To be clear, having this insight is critical. Imagine that a new thing presented to you by an inventor is like a watermelon. It is so big that you cannot fit it in your mouth or chew on it. You must find some way to knock it down in size. Insights allow you to identify slices to focus on and coherence allows you to compress the slices to a manageable size. Only then can you do your job with is to figure if and how IP methods can help the client with his goals.

Fish highway in garden

I was toying with the idea of creating a highway for fish to travel around my garden. the ideas was transparent plastic tubes which are interconnected at open containers (so fish get some fresh air). some issues were: connecting the tubes to containers, stiff enough tubes, cleaning the tubes, ensuring that tubes do not clog by plant growth, preventing cat damage.

Fish loop

I was working on an aquatic system for fish, formed of a series of aquariums. there would be a waterfall going form one aquarium to the next and a pump returning the water. BUT. what is important is that the waterfall allow the fish to jump back up. i am not sure if there should be a fish ladder or simply a low waterfall. Possibly a fish elevator, which needs to have few moving parts, maybe in the form of a water wheel or a chain of buckets. another thought was an Archimedes screw or even a tube which is filled with water by pump to keep it form emptying. need some way to convince fish to go in… another issue is that any significant height differential encourages the water to empty out rather fast from any permanent opening large enough for fish. closing openings, can pinch fish.
in any case, project stalled due to my dislike of cutting holes in glass aquariums.