Coming up with a groundbreaking invention is a romantic idea, but even knowing where to begin can be a challenge. It all starts with working out a great concept. The concept should be followed up with research, building a prototype, testing the prototype and refining the idea or design.

Develop a Concept

From the Internet to the light bulb, good inventions start with good concepts, and a concept for an invention should do one of three things: fill a need, satisfy a demand or solve a problem. Two high school students in Kansas City, Missouri, brainstormed invention ideas by trying to finish the phrase “It bothers me when…" and were able to solve the problem of "watery ketchup" coming out out of a ketchup bottle through the development of a new plastic cap, according to ABC News coverage from April 2014.

Research, Research, Research

After coming up with a good concept, research the potential invention to see if the idea is already out there and if there is a market for the invention. It may not be necessary, for invention-convention purposes, to research patents and hire a patent lawyer, but you should make use of search engines to see if other have beaten you to this concept. Basic market research should also be conducted to see if there is any interest in the potential invention.

Make a Prototype

After a concept has been developed and researched, an inventor needs to create a working prototype to see the concept in action. The inventor should then develop a plan to test the prototype. The testing should be carried out by either the inventor or a tester, who is either an end user or has relevant expertise. Systematic testing should expose any flaws in the prototype. You may discover there are flaws in the design or execution of the concept.

The Final Product

Flaws exposed through the prototyping and testing can then be corrected or compensated for, and another version of the prototype can then be made. This process of testing and prototyping can then be repeated until a final version of the invention is free from major drawbacks. If the invention is a truly great one, the invention conventioneer may want to think about filing for a provisional patent. This type of patent is a sort of placeholder until either a utility patent -- for a machine or process -- or a design patent -- for manufacturing a new design -- can be filed.