MaKey MaKey Invention Kit to Make Music and More

makey makey invention kit

I just received an email newsletter from Maplins and one of the promotions really caught my eye and I thought it might interest you too. It was for a fun inventors kit called MaKey MaKey, the kind that is probably targeted at kids and then bought by adults (who pretend it’s for their kids). It looks like you can do all sorts of strange things from turning a banana into a keyboard to making a piano out of stairs.

from the website:

“MaKey MaKey is an invention kit for the 21st century. Turn everyday objects into touchpads and combine them with the internet. It’s a simple Invention Kit for Beginners and Experts doing art, engineering, and everything inbetween

Check out the video below to find out more.


Creative Thinking Techniques for an Inventor

Joseph Benn is author of Brilliant Business IdeasA guest post by Joseph Benn from Ideas Mapping and author of Brilliant Business Ideas

I have a fascination with inventors having helped many develop their ideas for over 7 years. To me they represent some of the most creative thinkers in the world. In this post I’m going to give you creative thinking techniques that can make you more inventive.

Intelligent Questions?

Question Mark

Questions are one of the most powerful creative thinking tools I know of. Creativity is about linking objects together in a way they have never been linked before. An excellent example of this is the iPopper (I love this idea!). Asking intelligent questions sends instructions to our brain to start making new connections and look at old connections in new ways. Make a habit of asking such questions and we start to change our mindsets and eventually our behaviour.

Some questions for you to ask:

  • How can this be made better?
  • What is wrong with this?
  • How else could this be done?
  • How could this be made more efficient
  • What is it about this that is really irritating?
  • What really frustrates people about this?
  • What could this be combined with?
  • What other applications could this have?
  • How could this be made faster
  • How could this be made smaller?
  • How could this be made suitable for a particular group?
  • How could this be simplified?
  • Is a deluxe version possible?
  • Could a home version work?
  • What are the negative things about this?
  • What is currently missing from this?
  • How could the principles this operates on be transferred to XX
  • What are the weaknesses of this?

What other questions could you ask that will increase your inventiveness ten fold?. Some of the above questions will most likely be familiar to you. Focus on those that aren’t.

The Missing Link

Missing link creative technique

The inventors I have work with like this technique. You start with a product or a problem and then a blank space then a potential customer or result that you want. It works better if you get someone else to select products and customers for you.

Here’s how it works:

Mobile phones___________________Over 70s

You now need to make the link between mobile phones and over 70s. That link needs to be a new product or service. The most obvious example would be a mobile phone designed for OAPs. Would this work? Who knows and right now I don’t care the whole point is to have a little fun and warm your brain up. At the same time you are conditioning your brain to make new connections faster and more easily. This technique is really good for sorting out problems you may be having with a current invention. First word would be the problem then a blank then the required result. Limit yourself to no more than two words per part – this really forces you to focus on the actual problem. Displaying things in this way that really helps the brain work things out.

Negative Thinking

negative thinking creative technique

The third and last technique I want to look at is called negative thinking. People have come up with new ideas (especially for products) using this technique. I worked with some guys from India for a whole day using this technique on a ballpoint pen. By the end of the day they’d completely redesigned the pen, and come up with other viable products.

For this technique to work you need a product or service to focus on. If you have a mobile phone put it infront of you. Whether you like it or not I want you to whip up feelings of anger, frustration and even disgust at it.

What s wrong with it in terms of:

Shape, Smell, Availability, Popularity, Lifetime, Ease of use, Feeling, Effectiveness, Extra’s

Colour, Sound, Cost, Aftercare, Size, Speed, Weight, Duration, Number of applications

The Aim of these Techniques

The aim of these techniques is not necessarily to come up with a new invention but to increase your inventiveness by shifting your mindset slightly and developing a different view of the world. Use them and have fun. Many of you will already use these sorts of techniques without realising it. Using them in a more habitual way will massively increase your inventiveness.

Joseph Benn is author of Brilliant Business Ideas. He is passionate about creative thinking and how it can be used practically. He writes a blog and offers a free 10 day creative thinking course.

How to Design a Logo A Beginners Course – Win a Copy Here

I have been a little quiet on writing this blog as I have been busy putting together video course about how to design a logo called:

How to Design a Logo – a Beginners Course


Win one of 3 free access codes to my beginner’s logo design course worth $45each

All you have to do is add a comment saying why you would like to win a copy of the course and I will pick 3 winners next Thursday 2nd August

In the course you will learn how to design a logo from brief to completion. You will watch as I take a logo design from the client on Skype and then I will break down the whole process into simple steps.

You will learn:

  • how to generate initial ideas
  • how to use sketching to get your ideas down quickly
  • different ways you can come up with ideas through a step by step process
  • about different fonts
  • about common logo text positioning
  • about different colour options
  • how to work up the best ideas in Adobe IIlustrator
  • how to send the ideas to the client

You will also learn the more practical side of logo design, how to quote for a project and things to be aware of.

how to design a logo 60 page book

This course also includes a bonus 60pg ebook guide of how to design a logo including warm up exercises and sample logo project.

Generate more Creative Ideas


I love anything that helps you be more creative and so I though I would share with you a great little tool to help get creative ideas . It’s called the Creative Whack Pack by Roger von Oech, which for some reason to me always sounds a little rude (just me then?). It’s an App (also available as a physical pack of creative cards) that can help you break out of your normal everyday thinking.

Imagine you are coming up with new ideas for your invention or how to market it. You probably start with a bit of brainstorming but chances are many of the ideas are the old tried and tested methods, the predictable answers. This is where the Creative Whack Pack may be able to help.

creative ideas

You can choose to randomly pick a card or do a Workshop. The Workshop option gives you a list of suggested problems to solve or you can add your own. then you choose which type of card you want. Each card has an image on the front and then a paragraph of two of how different people have come up with ideas using a sim at technique and then prompts you with a series of bullet points on what you can do to generate new ideas. I always draw on creative tools like this when I have exhausted my current line of thinking.

What do you think, what techniques do you use to generate new ideas?


Creative Whack Pack


Stop Distractions and Concentrate on your Invention Idea

Concentrate an App to stop distractionsIf you are anything like me, you have these great intentions that you are going to work on your invention ideas, and then let other distractions get in the way. You have Twitter, Facebook, Email and Skype all tugging away at you and leading you astray from the invention project you want to complete. That is where a little bit of software like Concentrate can really help.

I recently purchased Concentrate for Mac only (PC alternatives listed at the end if the post) $29 and have to say it is really helping me to try and break my bad habits.

What is Concentrate?

Concentrate is a piece of software which let’s you set things such as Tweetdeck, Facebook, Email and Skype (amongst others) to shut for a certain period of time. Once they’re closed, you will not be able to open them again until your time is finished or manually override it by clicking that your task is done. Once your “no distraction” time is complete, your applications will re-open once again. I immediately discovered that I was checking my emails way too much, without even realising I was doing it, it had just become a habit.


Alternative Software if you are on PC

If you are on PC I haven’t tried them so can’t vouch for them, but a couple of similar looking pieces of software are:

  • Cold Turkey (free)
  • Freedom $10 which is for PC or Mac and works a little differently making you reboot if you want to stop prior to your set concentration time