I Have an Idea! Now What?

 In Nurses Weekly

Nurses often reach out to me for advice — they have an innovation idea and don’t know what to do next. This is rarely taught in nursing school, which is why I love having these conversations with nurses and nursing students.

Read through my starter guide to beginning to bring an idea from conception to fruition. Note though, creating a new innovation is multilayered, there are many steps and levels of complexity along the way, this is just the basics, a starting place:

Put it down on paper — The first and most important thing you can do is to really plan out your idea. Create a one-pager document that lays out the following questions: What is the problem? Who is your population? How does your innovation idea work? How does it solve the problem? Does something like this already exist? If so, who are your competitors and how are you different? What other team members will you need (engineers, designers, technicians, other)

Do some research — Before you spend too much time planning out your idea do some research to see if your idea already exists. If it does, take time to consider how your idea will be different or better. Additionally, it is always a good idea to do some contextual inquiry; talk with the people who the problem affects to see if your idea is something they think will actually help — and be interested in seeing come to market.

Know the rules — If you work at a university or within a health system your idea (or intellectual property related to your innovation) may actually be partly owned by your employer. Talk to your Technology Transfer Office (or related office) to understand who owns the rights and how to move forward. This office should also be able to discuss with you the patentability of your idea and the process for that, if needed. Not every idea is patentable but if it is, there are some rules and regulations around that to be aware of in the beginning. #themoreyouknow

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