Today we worked with a set of business owners searching for ideas and strategies to grow their business and create a significant competitive advantage. Like many business owners, they struggle with the process to come up with meaningful ideas. Smart people with great operations backgrounds and the ability to deliver the desired customer service experience. So why can’t they come up with ideas for growth?
Simple – they are not trained to. Their experience is in running a business, making general adjustments and fulfilling orders. Only recently did they have the need to compete aggressively. It happens to a lot of business owners. New competitors or new technologies enable someone else to do business in your space.
Unfortunately most people begin this process by conducting brainstorm sessions to come up with ideas similar to their product or features to match or bypass a competitor’s. Intentional Innovation focuses on feeding the brain with information and images to spur new thinking. Your brain needs a jump start.
Anyone can begin to push ideas based on their knowledge of the market, the competitors and current customer feedback. We want our customers to push the envelope and create breakthrough meaningful ideas that matter to each customer. Therefore, we search for those images that can spark deep thinking in a quick manner. Here are some of the tools and techniques we recommend:
Diversity – good ideas come from experience and knowledge. Great ideas come from collecting a wide variety of inputs from people with different views and opinions. You want to have input representing your customer market. This will include gender, race, age, economic, and education variety. Each person brings different experiences to the table and gives a 360 degree view of any idea suggested.
Lateral Thinking – actively searching for items that force different thinking. Edward DeBono has created a process where each person looks at an issue or idea through a different set of lenses. Here are the top lateral thinking stimulus to help deliver new meaningful ideas:
- Elimination – eliminate something you take for granted with the product or service
- Exaggeration – set a measure way beyond acceptability
- Reversal – look at how something is done today – and work it backwards
- Rearrange – change the normal relationship between the customer and the product or service
- Wishful Thinking – a fantasy vision that is impossible.
As you can see, breakthrough meaningful ideas take time and effort. A leader must be ready to take intentional steps to generate and nurture new business ideas that matter.
Share your thoughts. How do you stimulate your brain to develop new ideas?