It might sound obvious and for some even dumb to mention it, but every project, every business was born because of an idea. We all have ideas about many things, but once in a while is as if a light bulb lights ups and we come upon the next great business project. The idea is the first step towards almost anything and as rational human beings our job is to identify the good ideas and act on them. As a small parenthesis, I have always thought there are no “bad ideas”, so keep this in mind when deciding if your ideas are “good” or “bad”.
Ideas come and go; they’re literally easy to be stumbled upon. Some people are more creative than others and ideas may come easier for them. However we all have this potential and the objective is to learn how to nurture it. There are many ways to do this and one of my favorite techniques is to be consciously aware of my surroundings. At the beginning it can be a difficult task, but the idea is very simple. Every time you interact with your surroundings, may that be talking with someone or commuting to work, analyze what is being presented to you and think how you can make it better. Many times the answers will be presented in small changes so don’t discard them because of their simplicity.
Another technique I like to use is thinking what I like and what other people might like. The first step is simple; just think what do you like and what is missing in your life. For instance, you could create phrases like “My life would be better if I had ________”. Then fill in the blank with your ideas and make a list of these possibilities.
The second step is to validate if your ideas are shared by others. First try thinking as other people would and see if they could like your idea. Try to be as objective as possible and think what your family members, spouse, friends, colleagues and neighbors think about this. And if you have the chance, ask them personally through an interview or questionnaire.
To see how ideas come about, I suggest you perform the following simple exercise. Take any product or service you enjoy, for example Internet, your TV or car and ask yourself how did the inventors of this product arrive to it? Suppose the product did not exist, how would you propose the idea for it? What wants and needs will you be addressing by creating the product? What characteristics will this product have?
The idea creation process should be an ongoing task. If you have a good idea it can always be better. You might create a better idea or add elements to the existing idea in order to increase its value.
Once you have an idea, the next step is defining its elements. This includes among others, writing the idea down and then writing a Business Plan. In future articles I will address these steps and more. For now, I invite you to take some minutes off your schedule and start developing your ideas. Again, never stop creating and defining ideas as they can be the key for your success.
Image taken from Flickr.com