Hints and Tips
Look at Inventors' clubs to see if there are already any in your area or nearby.
Contact surrounding clubs to see if they cover your area, know of any that do and/or can provide help/support.
Pick a suitable location, time and date for an initial meeting.
Publicise it as much as possible in the target area.
Hold an informal first meeting to judge level of interest, agree on what prospective members want out of such a club and how it should be run.
To succeed as an inventor's club, membership should be:
Fun (sociable and non-bureaucratic)
Here is the start up experience of the Rural Inventors' Club in West Sussex:
Living in a small village, it occurred to me that there is a need to be creative, to use resources well, to find ways of accessing those resources, so we might have all the ingredients for an Inventors Club.
The first step was to find venue. Being a small village, the place to start seemed likely to be the pub! Fortunately the landlady has a daughter who won an inventor's award when at school so that was a good start.
Venue date and time agreed, we then needed a poster to put around the houses and on boards. Writing up what to say was not easy. Mustn't be too formal, too connected to inventions, which may put people off who just want a creativity club or similar. The word and emphasis on club seemed a good idea. First notice went in the pub. A chat to the local shopkeeper resulted in a free place for the poster in the window and on the local notice board. The shop in the next village wanted to charge but that was OK, and then it was a matter of getting some around the houses. Even in a small village it is interesting how many people do not even see the local notices. So what I learned was to explain to as many people as possible what the club might be about, a club for local people to help with anything to do with inventing, creative ideas for the village and community, anything like that. Fortunately I managed to get a local newspaper reporter interested and she came to the meeting. That not only helped in getting word out about the meeting but also validated the importance of the event. The first meeting itself was very informal, if not only because people kept arriving all the time. Slowly an open discussion occurred and clarification came. At the end, someone said, "I just hadn't realised what the meeting would be about!" So the message there would be, don't make too much of the inventing word, it is likely to put people off. The people who arrived are 'would be inventors', but would not come along to an inventor's meeting because they do not think they qualify. They don't know enough.
The jobs to do now are to elect a committee, write a constitution, agree next steps. If the numbers keep coming then it will be fine. The key will be to keep it very relaxed.
What amazed me was the people resources all around, including two patent attorneys. Using local people including the pub landlady is so useful. Word of mouth is best.
So do we have some inventors around? Yes, including some who have Smart Awards. Do we have a club? I hope so.
Contributed by Graham Rawlinson