New Product Idea Generation

Last week an entrepreneur-to-be was asking me how I come up with new product ideas. I explained that most of my ideas come out of necessity — I experience an issue and look for a product or solution to solve it. While not fancy, it has served me well. Beyond having a problem first-hand and wanting to fix it, I’ve seen a number of different ways to come up with ideas:

  • Apply an idea or trend that’s working well in one industry to another industry
  • Reimagine an old technology on a new platform (e.g. the cloud, smart phones, etc.)
  • Take an existing product and make a new one that’s better, faster, and/or cheaper
  • Talk to friends or acquaintances and ask them what problems they have in their business
  • Watch for when a big company acquires a hot startup, potentially leaving a void in the current market (most acquisitions slow innovation and take the acquired product up market)

While coming up with ideas is part of the process, evaluating if a startup idea is good is just as important. Almost every idea is already available online, so it’s more about execution and timing rather than novelty. Regardless, there are many ways to generate new product ideas.

What else? What are some more ways to generate new product ideas?

5 thoughts on “New Product Idea Generation

  1. Find a market segment you’d like to serve; then ask 5-10 people in the segment about products or services that they recently purchased that they are very disappointed with. This might indicate an opportunity to create value by offering a superior alternative.

  2. Thanks for this post. The only point I might add is that cultivating an idea-generating community – whether friends, colleagues, or even strangers – is a great synergistic way to cultivate ideas. Having a brainstorming meeting with select people, where no idea is rejected initially. Just ideas put down. It’s amazing what a small group of intentional, like-minded creatives can come up with.

    1. 100% agree! In my personal experience having another person around to bounce thoughts off of is the single most effective method of honing ideas. (The best time to do this is BEFORE you start building anything!)

  3. Another great post, David. Another great thing to implement is value. I love how you touched on making something better. Everyone has the misconception that finding a niche or starting a business always has to be reinventing the wheel or creating a space station. Sometimes the answer is simple!

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