Have you ever wondered how people come up with great ideas for new products and inventions? Are they grabbing them out of thin-air or being channeled by spirits? No, unfortunately. Great ideas are generally a product of three steps in my opinion.
Let’s say that you are a baseball player. You are up to bat in the world-series and it is bottom of the ninth inning. You are down two strikes, and you have to drive in the runner on third to keep your team in the game. You’re nervous, and it is causing you to sweat profusely.
The pitcher winds up and throws a fast-ball right down the middle of the strike zone. You are ready for this and it couldn’t be an easier pitch. You wind up and take a monstrous swing. As you come around on the ball and are inches from hitting one out of the park, the bat takes flight out of your hands and begins to sail 40 feet in the air like a stray javelin.
How could this have happened? Well, batting gloves and gripping devices haven’t been invented yet. Somehow, it hasn’t occured to you that a heavy, wooden bat can easily fly out of your hands when you are sweating like a madman.
Instantly, 50% of the crowd understands the problem… and only a few are willing to take action to do something about it. If only you had something to help you grip the bat, you would have hit the ball and won the game!
You can now relate the fact that a bat slipping out of someone’s hands is a problem, and a direct relation to how sticky the grip surface is. There is the problem… but what is the solution?
It has occurred to you that if you had something to help you grip the bat, the game could have gone in a different direction. You go home from the game understanding that something must be done. Someone has to come up with a good solution to the grip issue.
You start to think of things that are sticky that could be applied to the surface of the bat. Glue, tape, etc. could all be useable options. You start to think of things that could even go onto the batter’s hands… maybe some sticky gloves?
Now that you have thought over the problem, and have come up with some great ideas and innovations to improve the performance of a baseball bat, you can start creating your idea.
This is by far the hardest part of the product process. You must now draw upon all of your knowledge and creative abilities to come up with the best solution to this problem. Dig deep into your contacts and resources to find out how realistic your idea is.
Is your idea the type that would require a mound of investment to produce a prototype, or is it something that you can create for yourself? Now that you have your grand solution that could take its market by storm, check a few of these must-haves off of your list:
- Does the product relate to the market’s world-view? If yes, check!
- Seth Godin 101: Is it remarkable? Not just… different? If yes, check!
- Does your product provide value to consumers? If yes, check!
- Would it support a sustainable, scalable, profitable business? If yes, check!
You might want to ask yourself some of these questions as well:
- Would I be the sole principal in the business?
- Am I researched, dedicated, and motivated enough to quit my day-job to spend all of my time on the product?
The creation part of the series is by far the longest and most rewarding. If your product is properly implemented, and brought to market, you will reap the rewards.
When you start new products, make sure that you Relate, Innovate, and Create.