How to create winning business ideas – the final chapter

August 24, 2010

If you have been following this series, by now you will have added a new dimension to make Brainstorming more productive. But, having gathered the necessary information and mentally digested it, what do you do next?

Before I describe the final stage of the process, if you wish to read Parts One and Two, click on the hyperlinks.

The next step is very easy. Do nothing, stop thinking about it, drop the whole subject and put your subconscious mind to work. Turn to whatever you do that stimulates your imagination and emotions; music, theatre, arts, extreme sport.

Behave rather like Sherlock Holmes dragging Dr Watson off to the theatre half way through solving a case; incredibly irritating for Watson, but essential for Holmes’s creative process.

Now, if you’ve done your preparation work effectively, the idea will suddenly appear out of the blue, often when you are least expecting it. Sometimes this is described as a ‘Flash in the Pan’ or having a ‘Eureka moment’.

Then you get to the very last stage; is your idea ‘Fit for purpose’?

And this is often the hardest, as it means exposing it to the criticism of others to shape and develop the idea to practical usefulness.

These stages may all seem to be very obvious and they are. The secret is to diligently complete them in sequence. The half tone printing press was invented through this technique. You never know, that next big invention might have your name on it.

If you want to buy James Webb Young’s book, you will find it here. It’s a fascinating book and takes less than an hour to read; some great reviews too.

Alternatively, if self-help isn’t for you, three of my one-to-one coaching sessions will help you through the process, to help you approach any specific problems you wish to solve.

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How to create winning business ideas – part two

August 17, 2010

If you followed my idea from last week, you will have added a new dimension to Brainstorming, to make it more productive. Now that you have gathered information specific to your market and the issue you want to solve, what do you do next?

I’m going to describe the next stage in the process, but before I do click here if you want to read part one .

The next challenge, after the information gathering, is to mentally chew over and digest all this information. It is difficult to describe a type of thought process that goes on inside someone’s head, so bear with me.

Minutely examine each piece of information, from as many perspectives and contexts as you can. Really get to know it inside out; just like the character of a good friend. Then lay the bits of information out in your mind, like the pieces of a jigsaw on a table, and start to bring different pieces next to each other.

Explore their relationship with each other. Where are the connections? Can you somehow get them to fit together?

At this point you are not looking for solutions, simply to bring facts together that seem to have some sort of a relationship with each other, however vague.

Don’t try to examine this information too literally or directly. It’s like listening to music, rather than working out from the score what it will sound like.

Two things will now start to happen.

Firstly, you will get fragments of half ideas. However incomplete or crazy they sound, write them down – it helps the mental digestion process.

Secondly, when you start to get mentally tired – work through this and keep going – you will soon get your second layer of mental energy.

Once you get your second layer of mental energy, keep going, don’t stop too soon. Only stop when everything has become a completely hopeless jumble in your mind. No clear insights, no answers – everything just seems to be spinning about. When you have reached this point the second stage of the process is complete.

Next week I’ll describe what to do next, the last part of the process. If you click on the subscribe link, top right, the post will be sent to you automatically.

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How to create winning business ideas

August 9, 2010

Brainstorming can be very one dimensional. Minds go blank and participants can feel awkward about contributing. So just how can you and the team create winning ideas, to inspire and motivate, in these difficult times?

The good news is that creativity and ideas generation can be approached as a process. This means that anybody with an interest in exploring new ways of doing things, who cares to apply themselves, can do it.

And you don’t have to be creative or free thinking. The art of producing ideas is down to two things; principles and method. James Webb Young is the inventor of the process, described in his book, “A Technique for Producing Ideas”.

The principle is straightforward. That a new idea is simply discovering a new combination of existing elements and that the ability to make these connections arises from the way people view relationships.

There are five stages to the process and for it to work, each stage must be completed methodically, conscientiously and in the correct order.

Today, I’m going to describe the first stage. Let’s take a hypothetical problem, albeit a very common one in the current market place.

“Client buying patterns have changed. Their purchase decisions are now much more price sensitive and have you started to lose sales to competitors?”

You need to come up with ways of preventing this.

The first stage is conceptually simple, yet a real challenge to achieve. You and your team need to explore and collect the raw data surrounding this problem.

The challenge is to establish the minutiae of what’s specifically going on – putting the problem under the electron microscope to examine the detail from every angle. You also need to gather general information about what’s happening in the market place too.

Most of us start to find this irksome after a while and the temptation is to stop gathering and start looking for the solution. Don’t, the more diligent you are with the gathering task, the better your chances of success later.

Next week I’ll describe what to do next with the information you have gathered. If you click on the subscribe link, top right, the post will be sent to you automatically.

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