The Mother of Invention

It has been said that necessity is the mother of invention. I would say that, more often, problems are. This was recently brought to mind when I read about and subsequently purchased this pencil:


You see, I have always hated writing with pencils. I hated the way they felt on the page (scratchy), I hated that the line would become uneven quickly as your sharp point quickly ground to dull. I hated constantly having to turn it slightly every couple of words in an attempt to keep the point sharp.
Uni-ball has solved this problem with the Kuru Toga Mechanical Pencil line and it has done so in a very simple way. It has a spring-loaded clutch system that slowly rotates the lead every time it hits the page. This in turn keeps the lead constantly sharp at the point. It is one of those eureka moments that makes one say “Why didn’t I think of that?”.
I suspect the answer to that question is that, most of us, work with a problem instead of looking for a full fledged solution. In my example, I either did not use a pencil or, when forced to, came up with a solution that, in truth, was a way to work with the problem. The difference is a subtle one, but it is often times what separates folks like you and I from the folks that come up with brilliant “million dollar” ideas.