Everything that has ever been created started as an idea in someone’s head. Most of us have had a lightbulb moment where we’ve dreamt up a brilliant new idea for a product, service or simply something which we think will make the world a better or easier place. Sadly the vast majority of these ideas never get outside our heads. Without any real examination or scrutiny they simply float in and then gently float out of our heads. Like seeds blowing in the wind.
The importance of capturing your ideas.
Unless we apply a little disciple and methodology then these ideas will not get off the starting blocks. Without a structure to capture and evaluate your ideas they are highly likely to stall.
An essential first step is to write down our ideas, all our ideas, without trying to filter too early. At this stage we are really trying to answer the fundamental “Why” questions.
Why do we think this idea is valuable?
Why would someone want to spend their money to purchase the product or service being developed?
Most people skip this step and immediately jump to the “What” and “How” questions. In other words, defining what they are producing and how it is expected to work. They then proceed to extol all the features the product or service would include. They list the possible for benefits the recipients would experience if purchased.
Missing out on answering the “Why” questions risk people falling into a self justification trap. They convince themselves on all the wonderful features and benefits without really getting in and understanding the mind of the recipient and what would drive them to make a purchasing decision.
A number of years ago a close friend and I worked together to come up with a new concept in cycle clothing which was both safe, smart looking and practical for commuting. We believed we had identified a gap in the cycle clothing market between highly practical (the fluorescent green or orange) but not designed to wear off the bike, and more fashionable jackets or trousers which added nothing to the safety of cycling around a city.
We brainstormed a number of concepts for our new clothing concept but came to a standstill on how to move beyond our ideas on a page and a low cost working prototype to test our assumptions and evaluate consumer demand before committing significant sums of money.
Whilst we didn’t take this concept forwards, the learning experience was very valuable and served as a launchpad for further innovation work I led in the future.