Innovation isn’t something that can be reduced to a formula, turned into a formal structured process or be simplified into fixed rules. Nor can you just copy or imitate the methods of another business and expect fixed results.
Ideas can turn up in the shower, while walking or driving your car. You can also come up with ideas by listening to customer complaints, observing product users and spotting problems with existing products and even identifying the gaps between products already on the market.
Some people have found new business ideas in the work they do, their professional experience and working methods and systems of customers, suppliers and other business people.
I saw an interesting remark that underscores what I have said many times on this blog – ideas can come from anywhere. Jonathan Cagan and Craig M Vogel in a recently launched second edition of “Creating Breakthrough Products”, say:
“During the last decade, it has now become clear that the lightbulb can go on anyway in the world… Breakthroughs can occur at any scale – in a small, entrepreneurial start-up, in non-profits or in multinational corporations.”
Anyone only needs to take a walk to a downtown shopping market, one of the many lively farmers’ markets or a green living tradeshow to see how ideas are flourishing. In this economy with rapid change, sometimes in quick jolts, business people have to innovate or they will be left behind. Change provide opportunities for new products and services.
New products and services come from understanding users’ needs, wants and desires. Products need to provide better value than what is presently available on the market to interest consumers. This value stems from differentiation. Here are some questions that “Creating Breakthrough Products” advises:
What will it do? You need to know how your product or service will outperform others on the market.
Who will buy it? Your target market must be clearly defined.
What will be its rough dimensions? A 3-D block model may be necessary to understand your envisaged product’s physical dimension.
What styling features will it have? Lines, corners, material qualities are important.
Who are the major competitors? Know the existing competitive products and alternatives.
What functional features should it have? Products that exceed customer expectations delight users. Style, performance and capabilities are important.
What are the psychological descriptors or semantics of the product? Describe how superior it is compared to other products – “quick and easy”, “practical”, “reliable”, “comfortable”, or “fun”.
What is its context? This means where the product will be used, how often, stored, or compatible with other products.
One important feature left out of this list is how long will it take to learn how to use the product. Make it easy for the user to start using the product quickly without having to spend hours reading up manuals, tutorials or completing start-up wizards.
If you want to quickly and easily evaluate the viability and value of your product or service idea, here’s a must-have tool:
“The One-Page New Business Idea Accelerator Evaluation Tool”.
Fill in your details below to receive a copy of this practical tool that helps you know very quickly and easily whether your product idea has wings or whether it will merely waddle in the mud.
Will you try it? It’s still available for free but for a limited time only. You may never have another chance.