Converting Ideas Into Money With Lean Commercialisation

Suffer back pain? Innovation to the rescue

It’s a dangerous, hard, and sometimes tedious game. You’ve seen it on TV and it looks easy. It’s not until you start out you realise the real challenge… tight spaces, heavy loads, back twists and pulls. No wonder chronic lower back pain is a persistent problem for DIY enthusiasts and builders. We have an innovation – and, as John Peacock asked, “How can I turn my idea into a product?”

We’re talking about renovation.

In homes and gardens.

Having managed many teams on building sites over the years, John Peacock, Master Builder, has seen it all. The hours lost due to chronic back pain (the American Chiropractic Association published a rate of 70% of construction workers suffered lower back pain per year), silly mistakes made due to tedious causing rework and breakages, repetitive jobs and the days lost simply moving bricks around sites manually. Time is money on a building site and every hour saved is direct profit to the builder. And it’s not just losses for time, there are also fines for Master Builders who fail to look after their employees. The Work Health and Safety Implications have maximum fines of $1.5 million per company and/or $300,000 per person. That could easily put a company out of business overnight.

John knew there must be a better way.

John came up with an invention to move bricks in tight spaces. He created a prototype and used it on site. He validated the time reduction from 3 days down to 3 hours. It was 10x better than the current solution. Then he wondered if it was something new? As John said: “I thought about it a lot – it seemed so obvious to me, yet no-one had done it. Was this something I could patent? Could I sell it?”

Converting an idea into a product – Brick Fork

The innovation (which we now call BrickFork) fits on to the front of a Dingo, Kanga, or Toro. It will pick up a single row of bricks from a standard pallet and is able to take them over rough ground, soft sand, through doorways, transferring bricks from ground level up to 1.2m high – i.e scaffold, etc. to the place where the bricks are needed. An additional attachment allows loose bricks and paving slabs to be moved around in a similar way. This is so much better than carrying them by hand or in a wheel-barrow!

John decided to start the journey and filled his invention patent – that’s 5% of the journey completed. Next John called me to learn about the next steps. That’s when we started the process of Lean Commercialisation. I took John through the first stages of Lean Commercialisation: Establishing Goals, Customer Interviews, Industry Mapping, Ecosystem Review, Partnerships, IP Strategy and Financials while John looked at getting the drawings and manufacturing process costed.

Insights Gained

The Inventor: John Peacock

Six months in and I asked John for key insights that he’d gained. He came up with two:

  1. “The process is really important. I had no idea there was so much to learn and trying to learn everything at the same time would have been brain overload. Going step by step and having the flexibility of working around my building contracts made it possible.”
  2. “Slow down, take time to understand the route to the market and the implications for pricing. Take time to speak to customers, resellers, distributers, etc. I vividly remember the comment from one distributor that he couldn’t sell it for $500 because there was not enough margin… now I understand why.”

John now has a website where you can see BrickFork in action and is looking for builders who understand the problem.

So next time you are thinking about hiring a mini digger or see a builder, look at BrickFork and tell them about John Peacock’s Invention. It could save you and them a lot of back pain.

And, of course, you know where to come if you want to put your ideas into action and covert your idea into money…

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