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February 21, 2010

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The “Race to Creation”

January 24, 2010

THE RACE TO CREATION

It is my belief that inspiration is a gift from God above.  It is given to those who are ready, deserving, or perhaps whom God is wanting to test. When God sees it fit to introduce into our world a new idea or invention, He does so by inspiring us, His children. He does not just inspire one of us, but gives many of us the opportunity. From that moment: It is a “Race to Creation”.

The invention of the Telephone: We all know Alexander Graham Bell as the inventor of the telephone. But I find it quite interesting on the same day (February 14th, 1876) that Mr. Bell filed his patent application for the telephone a certain Elisha Gray also filed a patent for the telephone, only a couple of hours after Mr. Bell. Gray lost his rights to the telephone as a result.

My personal loss of a “Race to Creation”: When I was 19 I left home to go serve a 2-year mission in Russia. My worried mother packed me with 2 years worth of shampoo, condition, lotion, bag balm, sea breeze, and everything else “absolutely crucial” to survive. However, while going through SLC Airport security, I was forced to discard all liquids over 3 ounces.   This was a problem. Problems lead to innovation. Innovation leads to creation. Thus began a certain “Race to Creation”:

That night I wrote in the back page of my mission journal about an idea to create a travel kit that would allow frequent travelers to pass airport security with all needed liquid toiletries. The idea sat there on the back page of my mission journal for 2 years. I was sure that by the time I returned home to America that it would already be created. To my surprise it wasn’t.

I began by sketching out my ideas. From there I created my own prototypes using Play-Doh. I even tested my prototypes with family and friends. Finally it came time that I took my idea to Vic Lo Forte with prototype company Tuscany 3-D. Mr. Vic Lo Forte was amazingly kind and willing to take the time to work with me, an inexperienced inventor.

However, not all were so willing to work with the inexperienced. The patent attorney I spoke with (he wouldn’t meet with me in person so we only spoke over the phone) shot me down from the beginning and almost completely crushed any motivation to continue with product design/entrepreneurship.

Six months later, I received a picture on my cell phone from my sister with the message: “I’m sorry but you are not going to believe this.” She had been walking through Nordstrom and came across a Clinique package that reminded her of a sketch of my invention.

A little bit later I came by a second cosmetic kit that, again, resembled my idea. Clearly, I had lost the race.

I have learned from that experience.   I believe that God blesses us with revelation and new ideas to bless us…it is up to us whether or not we want to act on it.  Through BYU classes, mentors, and more experience I have learned the best ways to prevent that from happening again. I hope to share these resources and information through this blog. I would love to help, answer questions, or hear your similar stories.