What will lead you to a promising business idea? Exotic, Ninja idea generation techniques or the powers of your own observation?

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Graphite pencil drawings strengthen my observation and give me new insights.
Graphite pencil drawings strengthen my observation and give me new insights.

A few weeks ago I came across a woman who had been in accounting but longed to start something of her own. At university she had plans for starting her own business but scrapped them for a “real job”. Some years later she attended a panel on the global water crisis which got her mind thinking. A couple of months later she was hiking with her mother when she thought about the metal bottle she was carrying for water. The water was warm. Then she had an idea to start a metal bottle of her own. In short, to date she has sold 4 million of her double-insulated metal bottles in attractive colours to high-end retail and outdoor stores with the price of each unit ranging from $25 to $45.

Some people think that you need all sorts of exotic idea generation techniques to come up with promising business ideas. They will go for techniques such as Rattlesnakes and Roses, Lotus Blossom, Cherry Split, Idea Streaming Windtunnel and the Gravel Gulch. Yes, these techniques have been well researched and documented but are they the Holy Grail to finding a promising business idea? Do you really need to learn a bunch of techniques to look for a simple business idea that will provide a source of income generation?

The point is that the woman who came up with the new metal, double-insulated water bottle in attractive colours most likely didn’t use these esoteric or exotic techniques. She used her own powers of observation to find an idea that could work for her and that she could commercialise. It was through her own experience, albeit something different such as listening to a panel on the global water crisis, and taking a hike outdoors that led her to her winning idea.

The thing is idea generation techniques can help but you can use your own observation, listening and experiences to come up with promising new business ideas. Either you do things differently such as going to a place where you’ve never been before, taking up a hobby or interest or you simply see things differently. It’s through a change of perspective that you become opportunity conscious and start to see problems, challenges, obstacles, complaints and frustrations as sources of opportunity. By flipping each one around rather than seeing the negative you turn it into a positive and come up with a solution that perhaps others have overlooked.

How do you look for ideas like this?

You may want to spend years looking for an idea or you could speed up the process. “Breakthrough Ideas” does cover some of the practical idea generation methods but it goes into many ways to show you how to think differently and become more opportunity conscious. It’s as close to real magic in finding your promising business idea as you will ever find.

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