6 Ways How to Generate Groundbreaking Business Ideas More Effectively
We live in the era of ideas.
Big ideas change the world.
Behind such people like Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, or Bill Gates stand great ideas and hard work, not ultrarich families. Their lives show us that even without inherited wealth or social status, we can achieve success.
We need to not only be able to generate remarkable ideas but also put them into action. When we improve the quality of business ideas that we generate, our life will look different and our companies will be much more profitable.
Even if you struggle to come up with new business ideas, you can make a conscious effort and put the practice in learning how to produce new ideas.
Idea generation is a skill like any other and we can practice it.
Here are seven ways to come up with better business ideas.Back to top
1. Give Your Brain a Problem to Think About.
To generate successful business ideas, you need to give your brain tasks. Your brain can never be inactive. When you provide your brain with specific problems, it will work even during having lunch, reading a book, or even sleeping. If you want to try out this tip, ask yourself questions such as “How can I boost sales?”, “How can I improve my product?”, or “How do I increase conversion from my website?”.
When you have no idea what problems you want to solve, your brain has nothing to work on so it becomes idle and doesn't use its full capabilities. The point is not about spending time just on working and analyzing, it is more about giving your brain some food for thought and let it work in the background.
When you ask yourself the right questions and give your brain some time to think about them, you will let it create millions of combinations while you have lunch, read a book, or sleep.
Ultimately, you will notice that you generate plenty of new ideas out of the blue on a regular basis by having sudden creativity sparks. However, there is a catch in this method. If you want to generate ideas daily, you need to give your brain tasks daily as well.Back to top
2. Write a Lot of Questions For a Problem.
While generating business ideas, it is crucial to ask the right question because it will define not only the direction in which your brain will think but also the type of ideas. What else is critical is the simple relationship between a number of questions and ideas generation.
The more questions you create, the higher the odds of figuring out the right question, and in the end producing a brilliant idea. Instead of asking: “How can I produce faster horses?”, ask, “How can I transfer people from point A to point B faster?”.
If you want to check if it works, think about your problem for 10 minutes, clarify a question you want to find an answer for, and write at least 10 various versions of this question. Look at the issue from different perspectives.
Your questions may be or even should be wild, absurd, and preposterous. Try not to judge them. They may show a new direction that you would have never even thought to delve into and eventually help you generate outstanding business ideas.Back to top
3. Define Exactly What You Want
If you want to devise anything worthwhile, you need to set some limitations for your brain. In creativity, there is nothing more limiting than a lack of limits. People are usually paralyzed by the multitude of options and wealth of resources.
It is very improbable you will generate any business idea with an unlimited amount of time and money. You need some constraints which will set a direction where you want to go and what your goal is.
You need to:
- describe the task as precisely as possible;
- set a target number of ideas;
- set a deadline;
- set a budget.
To be productive, our brain needs some constraints such as a very well-defined problem, a deadline, a limited budget, and a quota. When you define the above elements, it will be much easier to generate business ideas, some of which have a chance to become groundbreaking.
Imagination likes freedom, so the ideas may be totally unrealistic. Don’t limit yourself while generating ideas, but first, you need to tell your brain what you want.Back to top
4. Generate as Many Ideas As You Can
The human brain needs a lot of energy to function properly so in case of any problem it wants to conserve as much energy as possible and usually gives solutions based on the fastest and easiest method - scanning past experiences. This approach works quite well while solving day-to-day problems, but is completely useless while generating business ideas.
We must remember that the brain won’t start producing anything original until it is forced to do it. Only when it gives out all quick and easy-to-create solutions based on the experience, it can start thinking and devising more original ones. Therefore, to eliminate the challenge and create genius ideas, we need to generate as many ideas as possible.
The world-class innovators realize it and they never stop creating new ideas after the first, second, or even third solution that enters their mind. Usually, they generate all possible ideas that they are able to figure out, and only then they are ready to choose the most likely-looking ones.
If you want to check how lazy our brain is, write ten animal names and later check what kind of names were at the beginning of your list and at the end of it.Back to top
The Ideas Quota Technique
To use this technique, set a pinpoint number of ideas, preferably more than 100, and set a specific amount of time, ideally not more than 60 minutes, for a brainstorming session. Your task will be to produce as many ideas as possible to meet the set quota.
Don’t judge your ideas and let your brain generate numerous ideas freely.
In the beginning, it may seem impossible to generate 100 or 200 ideas, but you shouldn’t pay attention to the initial hardships. It is just the natural resistance of our brain which protects itself from excessive energy consumption. It can make your task easier when you remember that ideas may be odd and wild.
Your goal is just to make up a set number of ideas.
The key factors are a set quota and limited time. As our brain isn’t creative at the beginning of the process, setting a seemingly big number of target quotas makes our brain more productive.
You will notice that the first third of generated ideas will be ordinary and mediocre, the second will be more compelling, but only the third will be noteworthy and pre-eminent. By using this technique, you have a chance to come up with ideas that would never see the light of the day.
David Kelley, the design firm IDEO founder, has perfectly summarized the point of this technique: “If you’re forced to come up with ten things, it’s the clichéd things that you have off the top of your head. But if you have to come up with a hundred, it forces you to go beyond the clichés.”
Brainstorming session task:
Come up with 200 headlines for your latest social media campaign.Back to top
5. Copy and Modify Existing Ideas
Let’s be honest, fully original ideas don’t exist. Humanity has existed for so many years that it is almost impossible to devise anything genuinely novel no matter how hard we try.
If we want to create successful business ideas, we need to learn to copy other people’s ideas and innovate on top of them.
By copying and applying existing ideas, we can come up with new ideas, which will meet customers’ needs even more effectively. Giving up the need of being so original and breakthrough, we avoid wasting time on creating ideas that were invented a long time ago.
When we innovate on top of existing ideas, we collaborate with thousands of geniuses instead of competing with them.
The only thing that you should care about is the market response. Generally, your customers ask a question: “Which product/service is the best?” not who created the idea of the product they are about to buy.
Note that ideas are not copyrightable. You can’t copyright your ideas, and nobody else can do it either, as copying is the backbone of progress. As Andrii Sedniev, the author of “The Business Idea Factory: A World-Class System for Creating Successful Business Ideas”, said: “All innovators copy ideas from each other and innovate on top of them.”
Let’s try to imagine that if the idea of manufacturing a phone was held by one company, it is likely that phones would be less advanced and very high-priced now.
If you try to be original, you limit your inventive productivity. Instead of putting energy into creating absolutely novel ideas, try to expose yourself to other people’s ideas, analyze them thoroughly, and create yours on top of them.
Don’t attempt to devise the most nouvelle business ideas, but just try to put on the market the best products and services.
We have always been shameless about stealing great ideas. – Steve Jobs
Almost everything I’ve done, I’ve copied from somebody else. – Sam Walton
What a good artist understands is that nothing comes from nowhere. All creative work builds on what came before. Nothing is completely original. – Jonathan LethemBack to top
6. Be an Early Adopter of Existing Ideas
If you want to win in a competitive business world, you need to see analogies.
This method was used by Thomas Edison who was one of the most prolific innovators of the 20th century. If you constantly keep a lookout for innovative ideas, you can notice opportunities that are not visible to others.
By acknowledging successful existing ideas, you have a chance to find original ways how to adapt them to problems which you are working on. Consider how you could adopt good ideas from other countries, businesses, products, or services.
You can build very profitable businesses by using other people’s experiences and adopting existing ideas for your product or market.
The key factor is time.
Those projects which you want to adopt shouldn’t be full-blown billion-dollar businesses. When they reach this stage, it may be too late to transfer their core idea to a different market.
You will be the most effective if you manage to notice their potential while they are on their way to success. You need to notice that the idea or project has legs before the rest of the world, otherwise, it might be too late.
The earlier you spot the potential of a specific business idea, the faster you can implement it and promote it, and eventually the more payoff you will get. In business, timing is a critical factor. As it can make or break the whole plan, noticing windows of opportunities early on is often the most essential skill in business.
A lot of people have tried to adopt the Facebook idea, but very few were actually successful. Certainly, Pavel Durov knows how to seize his opportunities. He noticed the potential of Facebook long before it gained currency all over the world. In 2006 he transferred the idea of Facebook to Russian-speaking markets by creating Vkontakte social network.
Right now VK is the most widely-used website in Russia with at least 500 million accounts and the 14th most frequently visited website in the world, according to SimilarWeb. This success wouldn’t be possible without decisive and fast actions at the early stage of Facebook's development. His example also shows that observing international trends and emerging businesses can be a really good source of business ideas.
All of us can learn how to generate business ideas more effectively because it is a skill that can be learned and mastered.
There is no magic formula that will work every time it is used, but like with any skill practice makes perfect and we can make our business generation skills expand over time.
By implementing the presented techniques, you can make this process faster and significantly boost your effectiveness of business idea generation.
Big words of thanks and appreciation to Andrii Sedniev, the author of “The Business Idea Factory: A World-Class System for Creating Successful Business Ideas” for writing such an amazing and insightful book.
"The Business Idea Factory: A World-Class System for Creating Successful Business Ideas" by Andrii SednievBack to top