Invention Survey Form
Select a number of people with whom you feel comfortable disclosing your invention. They will be asked to express their opinions about your invention. It is important that these people be honest in their responses, regardless of whether the responses are "good" or "bad" for your invention. Make enough copies of the Survey Form so that each person you survey receives a new form (without someone else's answers). Show your invention ideas or, preferably, a prototype or model of your invention. This is the first step in market research. Ideally you should survey more than 20 people (the more people you survey and the better they represent your target audience, the more meaningful your results will be). Remember that responsibility for maintaining confidentiality is yours. To be safe, you may want to ask the people you survey to sign a confidentiality agreement. However, if your evaluators are friends and family this might prove both awkward and unnecessary.
Once you have performed the survey add up the numbers for each response onto a single sheet. Divide the total number for each response by the number of people you surveyed. This determines the average response value for the question.
For example, you surveyed 10 people. Question 1 received the answers: 5,5,8,7,9,10,6,6,2,7 The total of these numbers = 65. Divide 65/10 = 6.5. 6.5 is the average value for question #1.
To really do your homework properly you should perform a second survey with the same people. This time show them a currently marketed product that competes with yours (something that solves the same/similar problem). The function and features of the product could be entirely different. When choosing a competitive product to survey choose one that a user might buy instead of yours if he/she saw both items on a shelf next to each other.
Be sure that your evaluators understand they should answer questions from their OWN perspective only. You do not want evaluators making assumptions that "other people will buy it". To be useful answers must be honest and personally true.
Now compare the values of the answers for your invention with those for the competitive product. Do you have a winner?
Survey results help in making a decision on whether to proceed with an invention and are useful when making presentations to potential partners, investors, licensors etc. When someone asks how you know the invention is a good idea you can answer with your survey results.
To better understand the importance of surveys like this one read the Invention City article Money and Inventing.
The following survey will be used in evaluating the market potential of an invention that has been disclosed to you. An honest, unbiased reply is necessary. The inventor will use your answers to help in determining whether or not he/she should proceed. Proceeding will cost the inventor a lot of time and money. Answering honestly is the best way to help the inventor make a good decision. Please answer the questions only for yourself - the inventor needs YOUR opinion about what the invention means to YOU. Do not consider how others might answer the questions.
For each question, please circle a number from 1 to 10. 1 is low or "not at all". 10 is high or "absolutely".
1. Do you currently own or use products that are similar, competitive, alternative, or related to the invention?
none ...1...2...3...4...5...6...7...8...9...10... many
2. Compare the invention to similar, competitive and alternative products:
it's worse ...1...2...3...4...5...6...7...8...9...10... it's better
3. Does this invention solve a problem you've experienced?
no problem ...1...2...3...4...5...6...7...8...9...10... solves big problem
4. Would you like to buy the invention today?
never buy ...1...2...3...4...5...6...7...8...9...10... buy this instant
5. Compared to similar, competitive or alternative products, would you pay more or less for the invention?
pay much less ...1...2...3...4...5...6...7...8...9...10... pay much more
6. Consider the potential safety hazards to yourself and others when using this invention. How do you consider it?
dangerous ...1...2...3...4...5...6...7...8...9...10... completely safe
7. Comments and suggestions:
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