SeeHow is a garden design tool that uses unique plant illustrations to enable users to visualise and explore colourful plant combinations throughout the whole gardening year.

Launched in December 2020, this product combines a helpful planning tool with beautiful illustrations, packaged to be the perfect gift for keen gardeners.

Our client, Wicek Sosna, is a perfect example of a new inventor being capable of doing this whole process themselves (with just a little input from Innovate!)

Planting the seed

Designer, Wicek, created the See How concept for his own garden.

“Gardens are ever-changing and therefore have to be imagined organically – not easy. I wanted a visual ‘ready-reckoner’ to remind me what each plant should be doing at any particular time. This process led me to producing my own ‘plantstick’ sketches and the idea was born!”

A huge feature in a marketable product must be uniqueness. How do you put down roots in such a saturated market that is the gardening world? Wicek knew the answer to this straight away, proving that market knowledge and confidence is key to success!

“Gardening books can be wonderful information sources but the unique qualities of the plants are almost always drowned in a vast sea of words. But gardens are primarily visual and sensory places. The reality is that the lives of most plants are rarely fully described and never fully shown. I wanted a visual tool that would do this, revealing the life of individual plants over the course of the 12-month annual cycle and importantly, allowing them to be compared and combined – all using pictures.”

Wicek’s knowledge of plants and illustration skills propelled him into the development process. However. he needed some advice on how to explore the wider idea and push it onto the market.

Working with Innovate

Without needing complex engineering, the help Innovate gave him was focussed on exploring the concept further, advising on viability, ways to market and giving overall support in the process with our knowledge of the field.

“I contacted Innovate to arrange an initial discussion. It was this meeting with Innovate that gave me the confidence to take my ideas forward.”

We followed this up with a number of Innovate meetings in the Salisbury office, exploring options through discussions and illustrations. We also discussed how to turn a simple concept into a saleable, simple product. Although this process did not produce the final design.. it did act as a focus for my own thinking, helping me to narrow my focus of research and importantly, encouraged me to keep going!

This analysis was invaluable, providing me with an opportunity to sound out the ideas and options with the Innovate team. It also provided me with directions regarding future discussions with the manufacturers.”

Innovate’s Intellectual Property team also took care of his first-filing patent draft in the meantime. He filed this with the UK IPO and is now Patent Pending.

Onward and upward

With the support of the Innovate team behind him, Wicek started exploring the self-manufacture route.

“My opinion was that the final product should be technically simply – effectively a kind of book, with pull-out elements. I felt sure I should be able to develop this myself. If there had been complex engineering involved, I would have taken a different route forward.”

Wicek approached a Chinese company to produce different elements and options.

“This process involved finalising the sizes of the various elements, the choice of materials, prototyping and cost analysis. In parallel with this, I worked with a graphics company to prepare print files of the illustrations. I also selected a UK printing company to print the plantsticks.”

From bud to bloom

We find that many inventors are reluctant to even begin the process of development, thinking that they don’t have what it takes to get their idea on the market. Wicek has proved that the secret ingredient is personal hard work and determination, which is something we are all capable of.

“I had to personally research every plant and provide all the detail required by the artists, reviewing every illustration.  A huge amount of work.” (but worth it!)

“I could not obtain a development loan. However, this made me focus and use my own resources very carefully. I am proud of the result. I feel that it is a genuinely useful and unique product that has fulfilled a function that no one saw before me.”

Wicek’s advice is this:

“Retaining self-belief can be hard, especially when funding everything from limited savings (as I had to). Gaining the early perspective and support of an organisation like Innovate, which will provide an honest assessment, helps enormously in this regard.

However there is no doubt that there are many times when the work required can seem overwhelming. Having the support of one or more trusted friends also helps enormously.”

Wicek is already working on Volume 2, educational spin-offs and early-year learning tools focussing on colour, shape, word recognition, dexterity and fun.

Get hold of one for yourself here:

If, like Wicek, you have an idea and need the first push, send your idea in today for a free review.