Why are the things the way they are?

This question was one of the core questions I liked to asked, when I was young. Especially my father was very good in explaining most of the things I wanted to know. I remember that he would talk for hours during long car drives or walks in nature, where I would listen with curiosity. Many times, I wondered and I still do, why are products or processes exactly this way and not another. This sparks many ideas in my head. I wanted to understand the world around me, in order to make sense of these ideas and learn weather and how I could change something. Eventually this lead me to study Product Management and Interaction Design at CODE University. To me, this seemed to be the best environment to bring ideas to life and solve real-world problems. I set myself the mantra to "use your work to create the biggest possible value for the world. Lead by example", because I want to "be the change, I want to see in the world". Continue to read to see how I developed this mindset. (with the help of others)

Creative Environment

I had the luck to grow up in a very creative environment, that allowed me to bring ideas to life early on. My parents had a cellar with a basic workshop that had maker tools for wood and metal. My school, Steiner School (Waldorfschule) in Heidelberg, encouraged me to be creative too. Besides the usual subjects, I worked with wood, clay, learned sewing, painting, played theatre and learned about arts and architecture.

My first "business"

In the 7th grade we used to have fingerboards - small skateboards, that one can drive with their fingers. There where ones made from plastic and really expensive, high quality ones made from wood. One day, I decided to build a wooden fingerboard myself. After spending some time, I finally refined my process and got very close to the original wooden fingerboard. It even had two versions - a cheaper version, with only two layers of veneer woods, and a more expensive one with three layers of veneer wood. When I showed it to my friends, they wanted one too. So I ended up building about 15 wooden finger boards and sold them to my friends for 7€-15€. This was one of the first times I had a strong idea in my head and executed on it, to bring it to reality.

The Modular Backpack

Fast forward to 2015, me and my family travelled to Ecuador. I wanted to live up to my love for photography and buy a camera backpack. The backpack I was looking for, needed to be suitable for day trips and ideally also for multi-day trips. After researching a bit, I got frustrated, I couldn't find a backpack that suited my needs. In 2016 we got the chance to work on a one year school-project of our choice. Since I still needed that backpack, I decided to build one my own. I did intense research into the (modular) backpack market, how modules are connected and used, and read countless reviews. I even researched in the patent register. With that knowledge I started to come up with a modular backpack concept that could transform from a small day-pack to a full fledges multi-day 70l backpack. It could also switch between camera and non-camera use in all stages. After the design process was done, I found someone who helped me sew a functional prototype with me.

Patent for Modular Backpack

The entire project was done while school continued, and within a timeframe of one year. At the time, I was so confident about this concept, that I continued working on it.

Filing my first Patent

Together with my father, I set down to understand how to file a patent, based on the modular backpack. We soon figured, that if a lawyer would do it for us, it would be too expensive. But we also figured that the actual cost of filing a patent is only about 400€ and that you can do it yourself. So we did, we learned how to write a patent and sent it to the German patent and trademark office. Eventually, we needed a lawyer because it got too complicated during the process, but we saved at least two third of the costs and got the patent filed successfully. I was very proud, a dream became true, that my invention was "good-enough" to be patented.

Patent for Modular Backpack