It’s often mentioned that breakthroughs should not be scheduled. I’m here to tell you that this is 20th century thinking. The statement assumes the word “breakthrough” is unambiguously defined. This blog post questions that assumption and provides a step-by-step self-help guide to achieving a breakthrough. My focus is on batteries, but with a few tweaks, you can adapt this for other places also.
Permit me to begin with praoclaiming that in the last century there was clearly a feeling a breakthrough was considered to be when, for instance, you find a fresh material for li ion battery pack which includes, say, higher energy or maybe safer or something that is. Those sorts of breakthroughs then check out the traditional rigmarole of publications, licensing, technology transfer, peer appreciation, awards, products and the remainder of the boring things which takes two decades to obtain settled. In age Twitter, Facebook, Uber, and, Snapchat, this type of period of time is made for the people unwilling to check to new methods of achieving breakthroughs. When you are part of this “old” club, It is best to proceed. This guide is going to be of no use to you personally.
But just what is a breakthrough anyway? In terms of I know there is not any body that proclaims something a breakthrough (a Pope for science?). Which is there really such a thing as being an eureka moment? Even when you have one, it will be per year before you could reproduce the experiment and get all of the methods of place to prove it. And in case the breakthrough is supposed to be considered a product, it will take you 10 more years to scale it and then make it.
But what happens if there was a professional publication that really called something a breakthrough. Then this became validated and verified by other publications saying exactly the same thing? That appears to be in line with the scientific method, can it not?
So, to the purposes of moving forward, we will define a breakthrough as simply that: It is proclaimed as a result by several publication. And to help us move forward, publications is going to be broadly considered a peer reviewed journal article, or perhaps a newspaper, or perhaps a blog, or even a tweet etc. i.e., as long as the phrase breakthrough as well as your work appear on the internet somewhere, you will be golden. This article will help you get there.
Step 1: Before starting the study, do not see the literature. The peer-reviewed literature is full of things which have been tried before. If you read them carefully, then what you really are doing will not be new. Keep this in mind mantra (thanks to NBC once they were promoting reruns within the 90s): “If you haven’t seen it before, its a new comer to you”.
Step Two: While you start the studies, keep in mind that facts just get in terms of how. The literature is full of facts (hence Step 1). In 1492 everyone thought the globe was flat; until Columbus took for the seas.1 Then we all thought it was round, until Tom Friedman proved it was actually flat. Up Until The Matrix became available, we thought gravity was forever binding us on the earth. Breakthroughs happen when these laws are broken and it also requires a bold person to look where no person has gone before. To paraphrase Marsellus Wallace from Pulp Fiction, you could possibly feel a little sting every once in a while when it seems like you will be violating faraday’s law. These are the facts f*ing along with you. f* facts.
Step Three: Since you now have performed your due diligence and ignored everything, it can be time for you to focus. Make an effort to work with a newly-discovered material, or atleast one which has been forgotten for some time. It becomes an important step. Around you are able to go after Steps 1 and 2, the more studied the fabric, the harder it is to convince yourself that you will be violating all the popular laws simply because you are charting a new path instead of screwing up. It’s far less difficult to assume this if it’s a completely new material. Graphene is great (not quite as battery power material, but bear in mind Step Two). So are fullerenes (granted they may be old, but it feels like it is time to revisit them). Graphite, alternatively, might be bad; until you intend to make use of it in the new way; in which case it may be good. Lithium metal is ALWAYS good; however, if you choose to go this route you really need to get religion on Steps 1 and 2.
Step 4: As you may start getting data around the new invention, revisit Step 2. Revisit it often, particularly if you sense down.
Step 5: Time for you to start writing the paper. Always declare that your invention is better than Li-ion. The only way to get anyone excited would be to point out that. This can sound hard, however it is not. There are many metrics that must be satisfied for industrial battery, including, energy, power, charge time, cost, life, safety, low temperature and high temperature stability. If you think you might have a thing that looks better in almost any one of these, you are carrying out a lot better than Li-ion. Price is the 55dexhpky one if everything else fails. You could always safely say something like “our preliminary cost estimates suggest that the battery will cost under something-small/kWh”. Opposite end in the spectrum is energy, the hardest. In the event you drop this path you really need Step 6.
Step 6: Always confuse energy with power. It’s completely appropriate to state “Our pixie dust battery can discharge an aspect of 10 faster than Li-ion, therefore EVs according to pixie dust use a longer driving range comparable to Li-ion EVs” or “our batteries could be charged in 5 minutes, providing more energy than any battery recognized to man or aliens. On a separate note, we just seem to acquire one cycle from our battery; we think it has something connected to aliens”
Step 7: The paper is prepared and it is time and energy to submit. Never send the paper into a journal that specializes in publishing papers in batteries. This may get your paper in to the hands of traditional battery-types who remember past history, know what works and precisely what does not, where you can strong scientific foundation in the field. Such knowledge can be an impediment to your out-of-the-box thinking. Remember Step 2. Always select a journal which is disconnected in the battery field.
Step 8: With the paper popping out, it is time to prepare for a press release. Keep in mind that the press desires to hear that this is a breakthrough. So despite precisely what the peer-reviewed paper proves, ensure you consider it a breakthrough on the press release. Keep in mind that Steve Jobs failed to genuinely have a working iPhone when he announced it around the world, and stated that they will ship in half a year. If it is suitable for Steve, I’m sure it really is suitable for you. So don’t be shy in telling the press how great 18650 battery pack is going to be. Make sure that you give interviews to numerous publications. Remember our meaning of a breakthrough: you want multiple publications to state it is one. So target many outlets.
Step 9: The time has arrived; the publications are out; and you have spend the better part of the day googling you to ultimately observe how far the term has spread. Here is the day whenever you may hear skepticism (some contained within the articles and others in emails addressed for your needs). Remember Step Two. Remind yourself how the iPhone had many critics (e.g, the proximity sensor will not likely work. Who would want to browse the net over a phone anyway? Atleast they got the 1st problem right!). Whether it resolved for Steve Jobs, then it could workout to suit your needs too.