Imagineering, Got Ideas?
Updated on:  Thursday, December 17, 2015 01:46 PM

Walt Disney is credited  with having coined the word "Imagineering."  
As used in the title, Imagineering Ezine, it means: "the imaginative application of engineering sciences." 
Perhaps a more simple definition would be: "
being creative with engineering

View of Imagineering:  Fringe Science & the Lone Inventor   -   The Creative Person
Searching for New Ideas  -   Steps in Product Development   -   Ideas Lost & Found

Searching for New Ideas
The following  is a revised discussion from article
I published in the March-April issue of Midnight Engineering magazine.
As guides, I have listed below some environments and activities that might work for you. Some may seem silly, some obvious and some you may have never considered. All have been used by other searchers with some success. Try at least a few. Good hunting.
Go to shopping malls, airports, city parks and just observe -- Yogi Berra once said, "You can learn a lot just by watching". One man I knew observed the constantly moving escalators at a shopping mall and planned a device to turn them on only when needed, saving a lot of energy. Another person looked at the way planes linked up to the various concourses at large airports and devised a unique and more efficient method to get the planes in and out. Look around. Maybe your observations will trigger some ideas.
Hold brainstorm sessions  -- There are a few books written that describe how to conduct formal brainstorm sessions. However, strict adherence to just a few basic rules is all you really need to hold your own session. Make sure everyone refrains from any critical judgment or comment on any of the ideas presented. Keep the ideas flowing by not dwelling on any one idea for very long. Let everyone know that every idea is a good idea; there are not bad ideas. Plan to invite a good cross section of friends and neighbors with varied backgrounds. Smaller groups sometimes work better than large ones. Let the people interact freely by permitting one idea to trigger another. If the group gets stuck, have a few focus ideas handy to get things going again. Make it fun. You will be surprised what may come out of such sessions.
Browse through some books and old magazines -- Books like "The Way things work" (two volumes) and the "How things work" encyclopedia (22 volumes) are very good source of ideas. Also, look through some gadget catalogs that are usually filled with interesting stuff. In addition, virtually any encyclopedia might trigger something. Look at the pictures. Let your mind just drift. It can also be fun reading what was new and improved in some old magazines. Plan to go back at least 10 years. Pay special attention the new technology sections. Also look for those interesting inventions that seemed to have vanished. Popular science, Popular Mechanics and Popular Electronics all have sections dealing with the latest in science and technology.
Look at some old patents -- You can now access all the patents at the patent office using your computer. You will be amazed by some of the things that inventors have come up with. Some old ideas may trigger new ones. Plan to read just the abstracts and look at some of the key illustrations. You can either look at patents in specific technology areas or expand your search into all areas. You may want to skip over some patents that are too technical. With a little practice you will be able to go through several hundred patents in just a few hours.

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