What was interesting in all of these cases was the peculiar process that led to these inventions: generally, the inventors had a chance encounter with the available technology; then the idea would come to them that this technology could be used for other purposes; and finally they would try out different prototypes until the right one fell into place. What allows for this process is the willingness of the inventor to look at everyday things in a different light and to imagine new uses for them. For people who are stuck in rigid ways of seeing, the familiarity of an old application hypnotizes them into not seeing its other possibilities. What it all really comes down to is the possession of a flexible, adaptable mind--something that is often enough to separate a successful inventor or entrepreneur from the rest of the crowd.
Read the rest of the Fast Company article here.