Business is all about creativity and innovation. But there’s also very rarely any way that you can really force yourself to innovate — it’s something that you’re going to have to be in the right mood for and in the right environment. The only thing you can do is try to foster your own creativity and create a structure that will make it easier for you to develop (and identify) the best ideas. Here are some tips.
Start By Identifying a Problem and Investigating the Environment
What makes a good idea a good idea? It all depends on the problem that the idea is trying to solve. Before you begin to explore new ideas, you need a thorough understanding of the environment and the market. Often exploring the market even more is the best way to find new ideas.
Before you start brainstorming, you need to understand the goals of your idea. Is it intended to make a certain process easier? To sidestep the process entirely? What would make this idea successful and what area areas in which it could be considered unsuccessful (such as cost)? Identifying a set of requirements and standards will make it much easier; otherwise the idea of a “good idea” is itself somewhat nebulous.
Start With a Brainstorming Session
Brainstorming is an incredibly valuable process. During a brainstorm, ideas are thrown out that don’t necessarily have to be good. In fact, they don’t even need to make sense. The process of brainstorming is intended for out-of-the-box solutions, which ultimately lead to innovative technologies and processes that weren’t considered before. There are many ideas that are considered to be “stupid” on the surface that are actually quite good… they are simply so unusual that they haven’t yet been tried.
Your brainstorming session is going to give you a foundation to work on; a set of ideas that are going to be able to direct you moving forward. You’ll be able to create an array of ideas that you will then be able to choose from. The best ideas can then be selected and refined.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
Once you start refining your ideas, it’s time to talk with consultants — people who really know certain aspects of the business, such as manufacturing, shipping, and logistics. These individuals are the resources that are going to tell you whether or not the ideas are truly good. At this stage, you’ll be building out the ideas that you believe are truly practical for your business. Small details, such as manufacturing difficulties, will ultimately separate the best ideas from the ideas that may be conceptually good but practically not feasible.
Experts will also have suggestions on how to refine and improve upon your ideas; this is where working with a team can truly help. But that doesn’t mean that you need to take all of their advice. Following your instincts will make your business and your ideas uniquely your own.
Iron Out the Details
Finally, you should be able to iron out the details. At this stage it’s often a good idea to compare multiple ideas, through analysis and projections. Once you have gotten to this stage, you should already know that your ideas are needed, useful, and practical; it will simply be a matter of which one is the best option.
Sometimes the greatest business ideas aren’t something that is earth shattering… sometimes it’s a relatively simple idea that is just extremely solid and worthwhile. Because of that you shouldn’t be quick to dismiss anything. By creating a strategy and sticking to it, you should eventually be able to figure out the perfect idea for your business. It may just take some time.