Creativity often has an eye for detail that escapes attention of the common fled of view. Sometimes creative artists and innovators catch glimpse of something small, apparently insignificant, but come up with exciting ideas for improving a product by adding to its convenience of use. Victor Paul Scerri is one such innovator, the mind behind the eye-catching invention of a new design that will make the lives of millions easier a bit and save their precious time. It’s called Flick-Grip and is about cards; so we’ll let the artist tell more about it.
Ernest: Hi Victor and thank you for taking time for this interview. It’s kind of interesting to see innovation in an apparently small and common item like a card. Please tell us a little about your innovation.
Victor: Wallet cards tend to be bulky, and in many ways cumbersome. They can be hard to retrieve, creating a stress factor, especially when you are waiting in a queue and it’s your turn to pay, or taking money from a mini-bank/cash-machine, or finding yourself in a dark place where you can’t see very well. Flick-Grip is meant to make card retrieval easy, faster, and stress-free.
Ernest: So Flick-Grip is a design that can be applied to cards to make their handling easy. To what kind of cards would this design be applied?
Victor: I made a system that can identify up to twelve cards by touch without looking. However, what the general public most commonly has in their wallet, and uses include: bank cards – credit and debit – bus cards, emergency cards, ID cards, visiting cards, and the telephone keyboard.
Ernest: And what inspired the idea for this design?
Victor: My father liked the game of cards, but in his senior years, he had a problem sliding a single card and would take two, or drop one, due to loss of feeling in his finger tips. I too had problems, not with playing-cards but when retrieving plastic cards from my leather wallet. After some research, I became aware that it would benefit the public to have a more secure way to identify and retrieve cards. So I began to explore different ways to extract and hold card types. I could envisage a blind man in a supermarket take his chosen items to the cash-point desk and be told he didn’t have enough money in his account to pay for the items. However, with Flick-Grip Identifiers, which could be attached via a stick-on to any mobile, he could call the bank and solve the problem with minimum fuss.
Ernest: What groups of people will find this card particularly helpful?
Victor: The elderly came first to my mind while thinking of the design, then the disabled, the impaired and the young; all these in my view needed a new, swift way to deal with their cards.
Ernest: 3D Designs are increasingly getting popular among innovators. Have you used 3D designing technology in your career?
Victor: No, I haven’t explored 3D Designs, but I have explored many marketing channels, including leading card manufacturers. Leading credit card manufacturers advised me to find a smaller bank to try out the idea, on the market. For a manufacturer to invest in the embossed Flick-Grip idea, they would need substantial orders. I contacted Visa, Dyne and Amex, but they prioritize their own patents. However, the credit-card industry is very hard to get into and have their personal patent research team.
Ernest: What stage is your invention now and what are some of the challenges in getting it out?
Victor: I came up with an idea to make stick-on Flick-Grip Identifiers. It would be easy to encourage a manufacturer to make a mold and explore the idea and even sell the idea if the means of finance were available and the inventor believed in the idea. However, that is easier said than done. Two years after I filed the patent, it was eventually awarded including advertising rights. I covered countries like Japan, USA, and Europe; but ten years soon passed and with a total investment of $189,309,43, the challenge of holding the patent and paying the costs became too much. It was a case of continuing to pursue a dream and holding my marriage together. Needless to say I chose the latter.
Ernest: You have traveled and lived on different continents in the world. Do you feel that inventors in different cultures can learn important lessons from each another?
Victor: The clue here is to know your market. Either you make an invention that fits a specific industry, or find an outlet to a new niche before you invest. The latter, as in my case with Flick-Grip Identifiers, would require a patent lawyer and sew together a Non Disclosure Agreement. An investing party must come first or, like me, you lose your shirt.
Ernest: Talking about inventions, one question that many creative people face is how do I know if my invention is worth pursuing? Based on your experience, do you think every idea of invention that comes to mind should be pursued?
Victor: All ideas are worth the pursuit to achieve an inventor’s dream, but only if the need can be paid for in advance, so as to actualize the fullest potential of one’s idea. Hence the appeal to design with 3D technology and getting free government advice on the pros and cons. Prior to pursuing an idea, I think all inventors need to ask themselves and work on answers for these questions: What is the invention’s purpose? How to go about finding who will be interested and, before any time or money is invested, secure an offer of intent?
Ernest: You have also written a book which is currently in editing stages. Are you looking forward to future undertakings in both writing and inventive designing?
Victor: To write a book and get it published is in itself a roadmap to finding structure. However, once the mind is programmed to think in an orderly manner, it’s still down to being in a precise place at the right time. I am a creator; that’s who I am. I can’t just stop – the idea alone would tear my heart out. I see things differently and would like to write and document my ideas and build a presence before I find an investor, very much like promoting a publisher. I believe using the tools to craft a story creates a structured mindset and platform to pursue innovative ideas, increasing its chances to become a reality.
Ernest: Victor, thank you very much for this chat. I wish you great success ahead in your career as a writer and inventor.
Victor Paul Scerri is an author, artist, and a retired entrepreneur, who was born in London, England, in 1949. His first book – a thriller/romance novel – is being edited. The novel paints a realistic picture of Japanese culture shown via a personal journey of nine months in Japan. Victor studied at the Medway Collage of Art, where he claimed second place in an award-winning oil painting competition in Great Britain. In recognition of art exhibits, painted while documenting his journey, one of his Zen paintings was chosen as the cover image for the April 2011 issue of Recovering the Self: A Journal of Hope and Healing. He currently lives in Norway.
To learn more about Victor Scerri and his work, please visit http://nicewriters.com.