More Ideas is Not Better

June 16, 2015 · Posted in business, entrepreneurship, innovation ·  

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Monkeys-on-TypewritersI got an ad emailed from a company claiming they set the world brainstorming record by generating 454,000 ideas in one hour with 8,000 people. Let me ask you, how many of those ideas were good?

How many of those ideas are things you could profitably deliver? How many just plain stink.

If you had 8,000 people spitting out random ideas for an hour, how many do you think were the same? I would say most were pointless differences such as a shade of a color, basically copies. Even if all 454,000 were unique, is that all the important ideas for the specific need? If not, was the best idea found or is it still sitting out there undiscovered?

How long will it take to weed through half a million ideas? Can you test 454,000 ideas? How much would that cost? How much time and money would that waste?

More ideas doesn’t equal better ideas. More certainly doesn’t mean the best idea.  Your time is the most precious resource you have. You want to get the absolute most value from your time. You need to pin point the correct idea and all the valuable connected ideas immediately so you can deliver without pausing. You need to see in advance what customers want and how to profitably deliver it with readily available resources.

That last sentence is a phrase I use to promote Predictive Innovation but its true, isn’t it. If you wait to react you already lost time before you start. If you work on things you don’t have the resources to complete you waste time & money hitting dead ends or scrambling for the missing pieces when you could be delivering value.

I realize the reason people randomly throw stuff at the wall hoping something sticks is because they don’t know a better way.  That’s sad. Have you felt that way? You can do better. I want to help you do better.

What does better mean? It means starting with a reliable way to measure the value of each idea before you have the “idea”. Then a way to draw a boundary around all the relevant ideas so you know what is in and out. Perhaps more importantly see what you missed. Plus have all the ideas organized so you can quickly pinpoint the most valuable great ideas and how they are connected. That maximizes the value and minimizes the risk. Does that sound like what you’re looking for? Can you see how much better that is?

If you want to be part of a new group I’m forming to help entrepreneurs find and successfully launch great businesses and non-profits signup so I can keep you informed.


Where to Start? Always Start With Customers!

March 11, 2009 · Posted in business, economics, entrepreneurship, innovation, mindset ·  

I recently taught a short introduction to Predictive Innovation class for a group of design students at Eastern Michigan University (EMU). One of the students listed his biggest problem as, “not knowing where to start.” He had a product idea and hundreds of ways to approach it but he didn’t know how to begin to get it to market.

I must apologize to that student because I did not clearly answer his question. The correct answer of where to start is always, “Start With Customers!”

Outcome diagram the customers’ desires. Find the most pressing must be satisfied outcome then base your product and marketing around that desire. Make sure there are enough customers you can reach and who will pay for the product or service you plan to offer. If you can, pre-sell your product to them. Use their up front commitment to get financing to develop the product. That might mean actually having them pay or it might mean showing the width and depth of demand to investors.

Figure out what products the customers already own or use and try to use those as resources to develop your product. If they already own items that perform 80% of the tasks then its much easier for you to be an add-on rather than reinventing the wheel. For instance if they have a laptop with a USB connector then you can get power for your device from their laptop battery. Or you can use the keyboard and screen of their laptop to see and change settings in your small USB device.

Figure out all the desires that your product or future or generations of your product could satisfy. Look at the lifetime value of the customer relationship.

If you’re planning to partner with another company to get your product to market they are your customers as much as the end consumer. Draw the outcome diagram for all the desires related to buying and selling your product. Make sure you satisfy those outcomes.

The particulars of manufacturing or a design alternative over another are just details. The most important thing to remember, “Start With Customers.”

Where to Start? Always Start With Customers!

March 11, 2009 · Posted in economics, innovation ·  

I recently taught a short introduction to Predictive Innovation® class for a group of design students at Eastern Michigan University (EMU). One of the students listed his biggest problem as, “not knowing where to start.” He had a product idea and hundreds of ways to approach it but he didn’t know how to begin to get it to market.

I must apologize to that student because I did not clearly answer his question. The correct answer of where to start is always, “Start With Customers!”

Outcome diagram the customers’ desires. Find the most pressing must be satisfied outcome then base your product and marketing around that desire. Make sure there are enough customers you can reach and who will pay for the product or service you plan to offer. If you can, pre-sell your product to them. Use their up front commitment to get financing to develop the product. That might mean actually having them pay or it might mean showing the width and depth of demand to investors.

Figure out what products the customers already own or use and try to use those as resources to develop your product. If they already own items that perform 80% of the tasks then its much easier for you to be an add-on rather than reinventing the wheel. For instance if they have a laptop with a USB connector then you can get power for your device from their laptop battery. Or you can use the keyboard and screen of their laptop to see and change settings in your small USB device.

Figure out all the desires that your product or future or generations of your product could satisfy. Look at the lifetime value of the customer relationship.

If you’re planning to partner with another company to get your product to market they are your customers as much as the end consumer. Draw the outcome diagram for all the desires related to buying and selling your product. Make sure you satisfy those outcomes.

The particulars of manufacturing or a design alternative over another are just details. The most important thing to remember, “Start With Customers.”

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