In Sydney, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada, a grade 8 student James Murphy came up with the idea for a solar air heater, constructing the energy-producing equipment with recycled materials. He used about 160 empty soda cans, an old door found at a dump, a big piece of glass and aluminium tape. He included several of his fellow students in the project. The solar air heater they designed and built was part of an initiative to make the school more energy efficient. The project won the Zayed Future Energy Prize for Global High Schools.
For the solar air heater, students took empty soda cans, drilled holes in the ends and used the aluminium tape to secure them together in 10 columns of 16 cans. The cans were placed inside the door frame and covered by a large piece of glass. They used a simple duct, which involves cold air from floor level being pumped into the apparatus and is heated by the sun shining onto the glass. The warm air is directed where needed.
It’s inspiring when young people take the initiative to come up with ideas of their own and take their mere idea and materialise it after much hard work into something like a solar air heater. Their idea embraces environmental issues, practical science and possible business entrepreneurship. To take an idea and turn it into a viable business requires product development, refinement and testing and the communication and sales skills to raise investment capital.
If you look at this solar air heater for commercialisation, you would need to include having an attractive design, ease of use, quality and most important of all economies of scale. What economies of scale really means is that the more you make, the more you are able to bring the price down to an affordable level, which in turn, gives you a broad market.
If you have an idea for a new product or service, how are you going to take it from a mere concept or notion into a material object. Service also has clear dimensions, which need to be mapped out and designed into something attractive that potential customers would want. Coming up with a new business idea is actually the place where the real test of whether a business idea is going to work or not begins. If you think about how you are going to commercialise your idea upfront, you will design your product or service from the start with more opportunities for making it available then if you didn’t think about commercial considerations at the outset.
Yes, I can hear some people saying that you shouldn’t put such constraints on your promising business idea so early on in the conceptualisation process. It could be that you may limit possibilities later on. This is all very well but just think of how many products fail because they weren’t properly conceived right from the start.
If you have a phase one idea that you wish to turn into a viable business, then buy “Breakthrough Ideas”, which is a resource that can guide you in taking your first-phase new business idea into the second and third phases of development. It doesn’t promise that your idea will be turned into a successful product because no one can do that but it will give your idea more power than just bumbling on your own without any professional guidance.