WALT DISNEY was visiting Tivoli Gardens, one of Europe’s oldest amusement parks, when he realised he could create a bigger, better version in California. His method is not unusual: Great entrepreneurs find new business ideas by paying attention to opportunities in everyday life.
“The world around you is filled with ideas that can be useful,” says Andy Boynton, co-author of The Idea Hunter.None of those ideas will come to you by thinking really hard in a vacuum. You have to get out in the world and practice behaviours that lead you to new ideas.
“Innovation is not about how smart you are; it’s about the hunt for ideas,” Boynton says. “Behaviour trumps IQ.”By learning to think and act in ways that bring new opportunities to light, you can find a constant stream of business ideas in everyday life. Here are three tips to help you find inspiration in the world around you.
1 Keep a list of opportunities.
“At any given time, there’s a job that has to get done,” Boynton says, meaning the world is full of problems that need to be solved. As you go about daily life, keep a running list of jobs that others have abandoned, ignored, or failed to address effectively. Each is a potential opportunity.
Start with your own experience,” Boynton says. Ask yourself, what bugs me? What could be easier? More fun? More convenient? Your own frustrations will guide you to real problems that can drive a new business idea.
2 Hunt for ideas in diverse places.
New ideas require creativity, which thrives on novelty and diversity. You might find a great idea while you’re on vacation or unexpected inspiration in an experimental art exhibit.
“If you open your eyes, the answer is there,” Boynton says. “But your world has to be broad enough and diverse enough to feed you the ideas you need.”Your search needs to be intentional. “When effective idea hunters talk to people, they’re not just going through a social dance,” Boynton says. They’re looking to learn what others know or do —mining the world around them for useful ideas.
3 Notice how others solve business problems.
In any situation, you are surrounded by problems that someone has tried to solve. Each is an opportunity to learn. Start noticing how supermarkets organise inventory, how packaging catches your eye, or how take al ot encourages impulse buys. You might find a better way to solve the same problem or inspiration for solving a different problem
HOW TO DETERMINE YOUR MINIMUM VIABLE PRODUCT
When entrepreneurs hit on an idea, they usually fall in love with the solution. As many have learnt though, a solution isn’t enough. You need an MVP which is the smallest solution you can build that also captures customer value.
Finding MVP guinea pigs
Your first step is to determine what the big problems are of your potential customers.
Not all problems are big enough to warrant spending money on fixing them. Speak to your target market to clearly understand how they’re presently solving the problem and how it can be improved.If the problem is worth solving, start defining the MVP. How are you going to make your product or service accessible to users?
A complex and non-user-friendly offering isn’t going to work.Build a demo to identify areas for development and improvement. Focus on complex or undesirable areas. Get your demo working and generating interest, and then conduct more formal solution interviews to get to the ideal solution. Chances are the MVP is already quite different to your initial idea.