“Invention is a collaborative process. Two brains will always produce more ideas than one.”

Bill Robinson: Collaboration is Critical
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Bill Robinson: Collaboration is Critical

Like many inventors, Bill Robinson doesn't necessarily identify as an inventor. He thinks of invention as a byproduct of being a scientist, exploring the scientific method, and following a hypothesis to its conclusion. For Bill those conclusions have resulted in 89 patents worldwide (either issued or pending).

“Invention is a collaborative process. Two brains will always produce more ideas than one.”

When people think of an inventor, the image of a lone scientist tinkering in their garage tends to come to mind, but Bill thinks that collaboration is critical. He explains that “by combining different talents on the same problem set you get more interesting, comprehensive solutions.”

When it comes to assembling an invention team, Bill has a formula that serves to provide the right skillsets while also assisting new inventors in making it through their first patented invention. “I always seek to have someone on the team with six or more patents and another person with a unique but complimentary skillset,” he says. "I also look for someone who has never had an invention before.” Involving new inventors in the process allows them to gain experience from seasoned inventors while also providing them with an understanding and familiarity with the patenting process.

“What is the status quo, and why isn’t it better?”

Bill says that the critical step in invention is not solving the problem or creating the invention, but instead it’s discovering what exactly the problem is. "People often overlook the problems they regularly face, thinking that’s just how things are. Once you understand what the problem is, and once you get the necessary players with the right skills, usually generating creative ideas and solutions is easy."

“My first patent was quite a thrill, but after that the excitement came from seeing how my patents and inventions have made a positive impact on society.”

Bill admits that his patents have not generated a great deal of fame, but there are a few that he is particularly fond of. One of his patents is used throughout Europe in police radios; another patent is used in the James Bond movie The World is Not Enough. This anecdote demonstrates the future-seeking mindset that many inventors possess. We may not have invisible cars, bowler hats that slice through stone, or much of the technology that gets flaunted on the silver screen, but that doesn’t mean that inventors like Bill aren’t working on it.

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