Much like our own genetic code, where quite the same is true. About 3% of our DNA comes to expression, the remaining 97% is non-coding or junk. The 97% junk, both in our genetic code and in innovation do however serve a purpose!
Without the Junk, the coding DNA, as well as the successful inventions would not have come to existence in the first place. It is much like a random game, where the same statistics apply: large numbers are required in order to arrive at the 3%.
In that light, please celebrate the failures as much as the successes! Here is one of my own failure inventions (it is easier to laugh about your own failures than those of someone else) as illustative example:
The ice bottle.
This great invention was a bottle of ice. When discarded, all that is thrown away is water, how cool is that! After some experimentation though, these bottles were proven very unstable and without any additional plastic lining, utterly useless.
However useless they were, I cannot describe the fun I had in figuring out how to make the prototypes and to test them. I cannot describe the fun I had running -a paper only- state of the art search at the premises of the European Patent Office, in Rijswijk, back in 1996. I cannot describe the fun I had figuring out how to write my first patent application, eating my way through quite complex procedures. I cannot describe the fun I had reading through a body of the state of the art, that time containing about 400 patent documents (the entire subclass A23G9/083).
Unsuccessful inventions are great too, inventions that do not work provide knowledge too. Celebrate them!
I wish you all: happy inventing!
Hendrik de Lange
Dutch and European patent attorney