It’s often claimed that breakthroughs can not be scheduled. I’m here to let you know that this is twentieth century thinking. The statement assumes the word “breakthrough” is unambiguously defined. This web site post questions that assumption and offers one step-by-step self-help guide to achieving a breakthrough. My focus is on batteries, but with just a few tweaks, one could adapt this for other places also.
Allow me to start with stating that over the last century there is a feeling which a breakthrough was regarded as when, as an example, you find a brand new material for li ion battery which includes, say, higher energy or is safer or something. Those kinds of breakthroughs then check out the traditional rigmarole of publications, licensing, technology transfer, peer appreciation, awards, products and the other boring items that takes two decades to obtain settled. In the age of Twitter, Facebook, Uber, and, Snapchat, these kinds of period of time is perfect for the folks unwilling to look to new means of achieving breakthroughs. When you fit in with this “old” club, I suggest you move on. This informative guide will likely be of no use to you personally.
But just what is a breakthrough anyway? So far as I understand there is absolutely no body that proclaims something a breakthrough (a Pope for science?). Which is there really this as being an eureka moment? Even though you have one, it will likely be per year before you could reproduce the experiment and have all of the approaches to spot to prove it. Of course, if the breakthrough should certainly be considered a product, it should take you 10 more years to scale it making it.
But can you imagine if there are a professional publication which actually called something a breakthrough. Then this was validated and verified by other publications saying the exact same thing? That looks to be in accordance with the scientific method, will it not?
So, for that purpose of continuing to move forward, we will define a breakthrough as just that: It is actually proclaimed therefore by a couple of publication. Also to help us move ahead, publications will likely be broadly classified as a peer reviewed journal article, or possibly a newspaper, or possibly a blog, or perhaps a tweet etc. i.e., provided that the phrase breakthrough and your work show up on the World Wide Web somewhere, you are golden. This guide will allow you to arrive.
Step One: Before starting the investigation, do not look at the literature. The peer-reviewed literature is stuffed with things which have been tried before. If you read them carefully, then what you are actually doing will not be new. Remember this mantra (courtesy of NBC after they were promoting reruns in the 90s): “If you haven’t seen it before, its a new comer to you”.
Step 2: While you start the research, keep in mind that facts just get in the way. The literature is stuffed with facts (hence Step One). In 1492 everyone thought the globe was flat; until Columbus took for the seas.1 We all thought it was round, until Tom Friedman proved it was actually flat. Until The Matrix arrived, we thought gravity was forever binding us towards the earth. Breakthroughs happen when these laws are broken and it also requires a bold person to go where no person has gone before. To paraphrase Marsellus Wallace from Pulp Fiction, you may feel a little sting every once in a while when it appears as though you happen to be violating faraday’s law. Those are the facts f*ing together with you. f* facts.
Step Three: Since you now did your homework and ignored everything, it can be time and energy to focus. Attempt to work towards a newly-discovered material, or atleast one which has been forgotten for quite a while. It is an important step. Around it is possible to go after Steps 1 and two, the better studied the content, the harder it really is to convince yourself that you are violating each of the popular laws since you are charting a fresh path as an alternative to screwing up. It’s far less difficult to imagine this if it’s a brand new material. Graphene is useful (less a battery material, but remember Step 2). So might be fullerenes (granted they can be old, but it appears as though it is time to revisit them). Graphite, however, may be bad; except if you intend to utilize it inside a new way; in which case it might be good. Lithium metal is ALWAYS good; however if you choose to go this route you will need to get religion on Steps 1 and two.
Step 4: When you start getting data about the new invention, revisit Step 2. Revisit it often, particularly if you are feeling down.
Step 5: Time and energy to start writing the paper. Always declare that your invention is preferable to Li-ion. The best way to get anyone excited is to claim that. This might sound hard, yet it is not. There are numerous metrics that ought to be satisfied for industrial battery, including, energy, power, charge time, cost, life, safety, low temperature and high temperature stability. If you think that you might have something that looks better in almost any one of those, you are doing a lot better than Li-ion. Expense is the 55dexhpky one if everything else fails. You could safely say something like “our preliminary cost estimates propose that battery will definitely cost less than something-small/kWh”. Opposite end in the spectrum is energy, which is the hardest. Should you go down this path you actually need Step 6.
Step 6: Always confuse energy with power. It’s completely appropriate to express “Our pixie dust battery can discharge one factor of 10 faster than Li-ion, therefore EVs based upon pixie dust use a longer driving range comparable to Li-ion EVs” or “our batteries might be charged in five minutes, providing more energy than any battery seen to man or aliens. On the separate note, we merely often obtain one cycle from my battery; we think this has something connected with aliens”
Step 7: The paper is prepared and is particularly a chance to submit. Never send the paper to some journal that are experts in publishing papers in batteries. This will likely get your paper to the hands of traditional battery-types who remember past history, determine what works and what does not, and also have a strong scientific foundation from the field. Such knowledge is an impediment in your out-of-the-box thinking. Remember Step Two. Always pick a journal that is disconnected from your battery field.
Step 8: Using the paper coming out, it is a chance to prepare for a press release. Understand that the press desires to hear that this really is a breakthrough. So despite what the peer-reviewed paper proves, ensure you call it a breakthrough in the press release. Remember that Steve Jobs did not have a working iPhone when he announced it to everyone, and declared that they would ship in half a year. Should it be suitable for Steve, I’m sure it can be good enough for yourself. So don’t be shy in telling the press how great 18650 rechargeable battery will likely be. Make certain you give interviews to numerous publications. Remember our concept of a breakthrough: you need multiple publications to express it can be one. So target many outlets.
Step 9: Your day has arrived; the publications are out; and you will have spend the better part of the day googling yourself to discover how far the word has spread. Here is the day once you may hear skepticism (some contained within the articles and others in emails addressed to you personally). Remember Step 2. Remind yourself the iPhone had many critics (e.g, the proximity sensor will not likely work. Who may wish to browse the net with a phone anyway? Atleast they got the first problem right!). When it determined for Steve Jobs, that could figure out to suit your needs too.