John Steinbeck once said “Ideas are like rabbits, you get a few, learn how to handle them and then you have a dozen” This could also be said about our newest member Lampson Leung, Founder /Inventor of Clipmatic (and many more products) who joined the Giftware Association at The London Stationery Show, He is brimming with ideas that could match the American literary hero for stories.
Clipmatic is actually the perfect product to catch these ideas, a handy tool that slots into the pages of your notepad enabling you to mark your page, add additional pages through innovative sticky tabs or create notes that are easily transferable to other notepads, effectively, turning your notebook into a portable workstation. Lampson invented this to capture his ideas to stop them getting away from him and to help with his studies.
Lampson grew up in Singapore where the education system is very competitive, with 20% of the countries annual national budget going towards education and has been described as “world-leading” in 2010 by former Conservative education secretary Michael Gove. Though this competitiveness can lead to pupils falling behind, this, unfortunately, is what happened to Lampson. Though by the time he was 16 he took the decision to apply himself and rather than leaving school to get a job he applied to a technical college where he had a huge amount of exposure to different students with different skills. “The students were more technical and it gave me exposure to technical behaviours and also how different minds approach different problems, this got me thinking as to how can I, personally create something that makes an impact and solves a problem at the same time” This was when Lampson decided to be an inventor, choosing to be more creative to further himself in his education, although not skilled at art or design, he possessed many ideas that he could work with and with the technical college providing the networking and skilled students he was able to overcome these hurdles.
He used his college life to research into the stationery market and if there were existing problems, He says “A problem always leads to a want, but you the ‘want’ needs to have an ‘impact’ to make it successful” The research led him to question students around the college from all areas such as design, engineering and art, this allowed him to build up a strong case of ideas and focus on certain areas looking at certain problems. It’s this connectivity that allowed him to prototype products and if a product was not working out then he could ask a design student who would be able to pinpoint the problem. “It was great to talk to different studies in different technical areas, who would approach a problem from a different direction, one that I hadn’t thought of looking at. It also helped to have a face to face conversation with someone as this was back before it was easy to connect with people through social media. There have been platforms developed, such as ‘Upworks’ where idea sharing is key to getting work and also builds up freelance work”
Working alone Lampson struggled to find people looking for ideas, as being a freelance was a relatively new profession, so he researched into problems that he could identify, working with the mindset that if the solution is not critical enough, there is no need for the solution. Looking at the bigger picture some of Lampson inventions/innovations include A C02 detection system in cars, whereas if carbon monoxide was detected it automatically opened up the windows, A building façade that creates a pocket of hot air that can be used for energy for the whole building and a low maintenance drain filter.
Asked about how many ideas end up on the cutting room floor? “A lot, well the majority of ideas will get to a certain point where they cannot be continued with, so they ultimate have to get scrapped, whether it’s they will just not work within the constraints of the problem or that the need for them isn’t great enough. Ultimately more end up at the ideas stage than actually come through to fruition”
It was during this time researching whilst still studying he came up with the idea of Clipmatic which would be useful for his lecture notes, where he could clip in extra notes when needed or add in extra pages for handouts at into lectures, he took this idea into development which took a while to get the spacing and material right but eventually his persistence has paid off and he has been awarded a product that is simple yet creates and impact. He has also been awarded an entrepreneurial sponsor take this product further, after being rejected the first time for this sponsor he then went back and made a few tweaks to the prototype, which they were happy to award Lampson the grant.
Asking if his 14 years as an inventor had been affected by technology “technology has always been a facilitator, it is great to have newer technologies to move forward but we would have found an alternative way around problems before. Technology had helped greatly with the linking up of people together to share ideas and for big companies to find freelance inventors to find solutions to their problems. It’s this use of technology that benefits an inventor the best.”
The Giftware Association wishes all the luck to Lampson Leung and Clipmatic in the future and hoping that his membership with the GA can facilitate and build up the partnerships he needs for his product to excel.