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Are you attempting to generate new product ideas for your next venture? Charles Kettering, American Inventor and holder of over 180 patents once said that, “Inventing is a combination of brains & materials. The more brains you use, the less material you need.” What a brilliant statement, but it’s also a daunting one. With all the products in the world, how can anyone hope to crack into the market today? The idea is to generate a wide range of ideas for a new product. The following exercises may help you come up with the next Velcro, Band-Aid or Kleenex that completely transforms the world as we know it.
Brainstorming Until You Can’t Brainstorm Anymore
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A very effective way to generate ideas for a new product is to brainstorm. Writers who experience writers block are often told to brainstorm using a blank piece of paper. The idea is to free-write for a certain length of time to see what comes out. This not only works for writing, it also works for product ideas.
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To begin, take out a blank piece of paper and get your pen poised. Then start thinking about products you already use today. Is there any way those products can be improved upon? What about the way you live your life? Are there any product ideas you can come up with to make your lifestyle much easier? What about your friends and family? Could they maybe use new products to enhance their lives?
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Don’t set limits, but instead open your mind and try to think of as many ideas for products as possible until the page is filled up or until your allotted time is up, whichever comes first. Then, read over the product ideas you’ve came up with and cross out any that seem ridiculous or impossible to produce. When you’re finished, look over the remaining ideas for a new product. Are there any that stick out? If so, make a list of all those products you think are viable and move onto the next exercise, which is where you will reflect on your own life and draw from it in order to come up with one or more product ideas that you can bring to market.
Think Back On Your Own Life
It’s common for people to look back on their lives to remember where they’ve been, who they’ve met and the experiences they’ve had. Instead of just reminiscing, think back to the life you’ve lived and see if you can come up with one or more new product ideas that could have helped along the way.
Your Unique Education
One area to consider is your education. If you received a particular type of education during your lifetime, you may have been privy to special knowledge that can contribute to some great ideas for a new product. You might have had hobbies growing up that lent a certain insight that you can use for even more product ideas. The sky is the limit, as long as the product idea seems as though it would make a great fit in the world we live in.
New Product Ideas Based On Experiences
You will also want to consider the experiences you’ve had up until now. You might possess a unique perspective that no one else has because of that experience, and that’s a great way to come up with product ideas that no one has ever seen or thought of before.
Think of the exotic locations you’ve visited, the conversations you’ve had with others and, most importantly, consider the lessons you’ve learned along the way. Though it may not be readily apparent, your experiences may help you conjure up a few new product ideas that will really wow future investors. You might only have to think about those experiences a little while for the ideas to start flowing.
Once you have a list of product ideas from brainstorming and from reminiscing about your life and experience, you might want to share your product ideas with others. You can do this with a handy survey that goes out to the ones you love and appreciate.
Survey Your Customers, Friends And Acquaintances
If you want to determine whether or not your ideas for products are good enough to actually manufacture and sell, you’ll want to create surveys that you can then hand out to your customers, friends, acquaintances, neighbors and even perfect strangers if you like. The idea is to get an outside perspective so that you can determine if your product ideas hold water. That underwater camera that also serves as a snorkel may sound neat, but will people really buy and use it? You may think that you have the best new product ideas under the sun, but it’s not until your friend tells you it stinks that you’re brought back to reality. That is why surveys are crucial, especially if you can manage to send a lot of them out and get a lot of good responses back.
This survey process is a big part of coming up with ideas for a new product. Even if you have to trash all your previous ideas and start fresh, at least you’re familiar with the process of generating these ideas. That will make it easier the next go ‘round.
If you want to develop new product ideas that will someday make you rich, you only have to keep thinking up new ones. As Kettering said, it’s all about the brains and not so much about the materials involved. As long as you keep brainstorming, you consider your previous education and experience, and as long as you keep surveying those closest to you, you’ll eventually come up with a long list of viable new product ideas. You might create products that improve the world as we know it, or that simplify certain processes, or that improve safety. The next step is to take those ideas and make them a reality so that the world becomes a better, easier or much safer place.