Coming up with good ideas is easier than what we think. Many times they just show up spontaneously when we do an everyday action, other times they appear from watching someone else performing an activity. We can however also look actively for new ideas. The purpose of the Ideaward toolkit is to help you finding and grabbing these good ideas.
What is a good idea?
Ideaward has three main criteria to evaluate the potential of an idea: innovation, feasibility and impact. The higher an idea ranks in each of these aspects the better it will be.
The Ideaward toolkit: how can we find good ideas?
There are five basic rules to develop new ideas:
Innovators consistently look at the behavior of people. Before developing any new product or service it is fundamental to gain insights about what people do and how and why they do it. The observation approach needs to be professional and consistent. Different innovators can use different techniques, but all of them need to involve going to the spot and looking carefully at how people do things in their normal lives. Spotting the different activities they carry on, they time they spend and their attitude and feelings (e.g. frustration, nuisance, annoyance…) can lead to new ideas.
Peter Drucker, more than 50 years ago, already described the power of provocative questions: “the important and difficult job is never to find the right answer, it is to find the right question”. Innovators need to ask the questions that challenge the conventional perception of the products, services or processes around us. The most successful innovators are never afraid of challenging; everything can in fact being challenged. Simply questions such as “Why do I-they do this?”, “Why not do I-they do this?” “What if I-they would do this?” can trigger new ideas. Things are as they are as result of old wisdom, technical limitations or historic ways of doing things. Asking the right questions from the beginning and without limitations is the second step to innovate.
Connecting things is an essential skill for a successful innovator. Simple everyday experiences can be a source of new ideas when connected properly. As any fresh input can trigger new ways of doing things, it is important to ensure we expose ourselves to diverse ways of thinking, acting and…. Travelling is one way of doing that, relating with people of different backgrounds and occupations is another one.
Now it is time to be creative and let your imagination fly, there are endless possibilities to make things, do not put any constraint and think big…
Some tips that might help you…
Challenge everything. The worst enemy to improvement is thinking that there is an unchallengeable reason for things being as they are. One of our favorite innovations is the post-it note. It seems now obvious that you can stick and un-stick a message, right? Well, no one had though about it until 3M’s Art Fry came up with this brilliant idea in 1974…
Think on what annoys people and imagine ways to smooth or eliminate it. Is it a tap that always get lost and should be attached to the bottle? Is it giving boiled veggies to children instead of carrots, spinach and broccoli tortellini with tasty veggie sauce?
Consider what worries people and think about how you could reduce the stress. I am the one who wanted Strepsils in a lolly format so my children would not choke…
Now that there is crisis everywhere, do you have any idea to make the products you normally use cheaper without missing the attributes important to you?
Analyze how to bring useful things from a group of products into completely different goods E.g. Aloe vera softener was first introduced in gels and shampoos, now its benefits are as well in detergents, tissues…
Are you a traveller? Visiting other countries can easily be a form of inspiration… Is there anything you have seen elsewhere that you would like to bring into your country?
Once you have arrived to the new born idea stage is important that you test the concept with potential users. Sharing your idea with a network of diverse people will for sure give you a new perspective and help you further refining and improving it.
At this point you are ready to deposit your idea in the Ideaward Bank of Ideas and make it happen!