Are you satisfied with the first idea that “pops” into your head?

A common brand of vegetable peeler in China.
A common brand of vegetable peeler in China. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As soon as people reach the right answer, they stop thinking. But this is not a good approach for the entrepreneurial minded person who wants to come up with a new product or service.

Business people are praised for being dynamic and decisive. In typical operational decision-making, the quick decision gets results. Not so with strategic decision-making where the first plan that comes into your head may not have been thought through optimally.

To come up with new products and services – not necessarily brand-new but with a “tweak” or aimed at a separate market segment – requires a different way of thinking.

We have been trained since school to come up with the one right answer. Then we move onto the next problem. But when people have the right answer, they stop thinking.

An entrepreneurial minded person looking to start a business with a product or service is not satisfied with the first answer that comes along.

Sam Farber wasn’t satisfied with the existing apple peeler his wife Betsey was using with her arthritic hands. But before Sam everyone else was. Potato and vegetable peeler companies were satisfied with what they were putting onto the market.

After experimenting with a number of options Sam came up with the Oxo Good Grips line of kitchen tools. These are the ones with the fat black handles made from a soft plastic known as Santoprene. They are shaped and angled to be easy on the hand and quickly proved a hit with consumers.

Ideas grow out of irritation or personal problems.

People come up with ideas out of necessity.

New ideas are born when you solve problems by looking at them in different ways.

Break away from the obvious way of looking at problems and challenges.

Use an “invitational stem” introduced by Dr Sidney Barnes, a pioneer in creative thinking:

“In what ways might I…?”

Try it for five minutes. Don’t be satisfied until you have a few answers that surprise you.

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