In my other job, facilitating innovation meetings, we encourage people to be wishful and suspend feasibility temporarily, an approach that can lead them to genuinely new thinking, but also results in some unusual ideas such as scissors that will only cut gray hair.
Here’s a smattering of inventions and new business ideas I’ve run across over the years that are still a few beans short of a burrito. I offer them here to tickle your mental fancy and to do my part to help stem the senility tide — apropos of which, I'm determined, as I age, to maintain my ability to divide by fractions. Maybe that’s just me.
I do not claim proprietary rights on any of the following ideas (nor should you):
• GPS credit card that will disable itself when your wife approaches any preset coordinates, say Neiman-Marcus.
• Mirrors for prison showers with the legend “Bubba is closer than he appears in this mirror.”
• A GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) watch, a big seller for a very small market.
• A large microwave facility to speed up drying after a shower. Just make sure you have no metal fillings in your teeth, or steel screws in your legs, and that you left your Billy Bob key chain in the other room.
• Bonsai fish so you can have a 3-inch great white shark in your living room — the ideal threat for naughty kids' fingers.
• Pocket aquarium for pocket pets that don't transmit all those nasty rodent diseases
• Fireshades to eliminate nasty fireplace glare.
• Email from the beyond where you can block calls from selected deceased relatives. Better yet, allow only outgoing calls.
• Audio book version of Where’s Waldo: If you think cell phones cause accidents…
• Scratch ‘n’ Sniff menus for foreign restaurants so you don't have to ask the waiter what a foreign word means. A variation would be…
• Lick ‘n’ Sniff menu items at Thai and Mexican restaurants so you can check the spiciness level.
• Fake eyeballs to wear during boring meetings so you can sleep while looking awake. I could have used these in Miss Reilly’s fourth grade “Introduction to Shakespeare’s Sonnets”.
• Buy a pair of shoes, get one extra shoe free. Useful if you have a friend with the same shoe size, and you each buy two identical pairs of shoes.
• Generate electricity by running a REALLY LONG pipe from the cold water in the northern Pacific Ocean to the warmer water in the south. The water flowing southward would turn turbine generators.
• Tow icebergs from the Arctic Circle to California for fresh water. Shrink-wrap them to minimize melting in transit.
• Hamburger-in-a-Cone with a ketchup reservoir in the bottom for your fries.
• Prerecorded apologies where you listen for the complaint, punch the proper button and hang up.
• A 600-foot-perpetual-motion yellow bird bobbing in-and-out of a reservoir to generate electricity for a town of 50,000 — like the trick ones that perched on your water glass.
• Faxing paper supplies to your office
• A 50-pound bag of sandcastle — some assembly required.
• Brown Poupon
• Days-of-the-week underwear for women. The male version would be months-of-the-year.
• Put wanted criminals pictures on postage stamps so mailmen can look for them (or, if you're a feminist, personpersons.)
• Cocaine for killer bees. Spray an area with cocaine for 12 weeks, then stop and watch those little devils highbuzz it back to Colombia.
• I read that Dave Barry knows of a scheme for winning when playing solitaire for cash.
A moment of silence for a few basically good ideas that came sooo close: A novel entitled “Tale of Three Cities, 508-and-¾ jeans and a soft drink called Six-Up.
Finally, one of my favorite invention ideas comes from comedienne, Sarah Bernhardt. "Personally, I'm waiting for caller IQ."
This Week's Thought-Byte: Just because something is unthinkable doesn't mean we shouldn't think it.
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