Million-dollar idea: How to turn your idea into big money

Online invention company streamlines invention process

By Eryka Washington - Investigative Reporter

Ever had an idea you knew could be worth millions? Local 6 looked at the simplest ways to turn your simple idea into big money.

[WEB EXTRA: More information on Quirky | Innovative Apps]

"It just came to me!" that's how Shawn Schuur says the idea just popped in her head one day, "I don't like it when my sponge falls on the ground so just needed improvement so I just drew up a design."

Instead of one suction cup Schuur decided to use three suction cups. She sent her idea to, an online invention company.

"We believe the best ideas in the world are locked in people's heads not trapped behind boardrooms," Nathaniel Padgett, of Quirky, said.

Schuur says this isn't the first time she has had a bright idea.

"I have had ideas in the past but it's really hard to make an invention. There is a lot of things that go into it," Schuur said.

But streamlines the process and does most of the work.

Padgett said it's sometimes not what you know but who you know that can be helpful.

"It's really hard to make the right connections to find out who the right manufacturer is for a given product," Padgett said.

Here is how it works:

  • Submit your idea
  • Quirky's online community provides comments and feedback about the idea
  • If Quirky likes it, it moves to evaluation
  • Everything from community brainstorming, research, viability and marketability are reviewed
  • The chosen ideas are then built into products and placed on store shelves, all with continued help from the Quirky group.

Schuur still can't believe her Stick Ups are now in Targets across the country.

Schuur confesses she been to the Target pretty often.

"We go there all the time to look at it," Schuur said.

Jason Turner relied on his business contacts to help bring his million dollar idea to life.

"Over the 15 years you meet a lot of people that are diversified in everything," Turner said.

Turner owns Exact Plumbing but his idea is an app, called Whodoie, and eliminates the need for business cards.

"People give business cards 'oh thank you,' throw them in the garbage," Turner said.

The app allows people to see what you do for a profession and the service you can provide.

"I would check in and walk into a Starbucks everybody's phone would send off a ping that a plumbing contractor walked thru the doors," Turner said.

Bringing this idea to life, is no easy task.

"It's not like you can just pick up the phone book or get online and find a natural developer that does all the programming for the app," Turner said.

Whodoie is on iTunes and should be ready any day now.

Both Schuur and Turner say if you have an idea, don't sit on it.

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