Searching for New Ideas
The following is a revised discussion from article
I published in the March-April issue of Midnight Engineering magazine.
|As guides, I have listed below some environments and activities that might work for you.
Some may seem silly, some obvious and some you may have never considered. All have been used by other searchers with some success. Try at least a few. Good hunting.
|Network with friends and neighbors -- Networking involves talking to lots of people who in turn
may recommend that you talk to some more people. One referral may lead to another. Involve your family and friends in your quest. Just about everybody has their own stack of ideas. Some of their
ideas may stimulate some of your own. Collect them all, yours and theirs. Find out what is on their mind. Ask what they think should be invented. Make sure everyone in you life knows of your
quest. Some service organizations like the Rotary, Elks and Lyons are also great places to network. Log onto some Internet web sites that tend to exchange a lot of ideas. Ask the people for their
ideas. What is needed? What are they talking about? Anyone can be a potential source of ideas. Many highly successful toys resulted from inventors talking to their children.
|Search your present or former company -- Perhaps your new venture concept is right in front of
your nose. Maybe your present or former employer could be a source of ideas. Snoop around, don't steal their ideas, but maybe something will give you some new ones. What kind of problems are they
having? Are there similar products or services that you could provide? Are they missing some business by not providing some other products or services? Maybe you could capitalize on their
marketing gaps. Find a new niche.
|Follow the old adage "find a need and fill it" -- If some company has a problem maybe you can
sell them the solution. If they have problems, perhaps other companies do also. Ask around, every company has problems. They may be reluctant at first to admit any needs. But after they find out
you are not a threat to their business they might open up to you. See if you can get a tour of their place of business. Many managers are proud of their companies and enjoy showing them off. Maybe
you could tell them you a doing research on a new book. Try whatever it takes to make them tell you what is needed in their business.
|Talk to sales persons -- Local sales representatives and vendors are great
people to talk to. They are like soldiers who spend much time in the trenches every day. Their job depends on knowing people and places. To be successful they have to be in constant touch with
companies. They are often some of the first people to hear of problems or progress in some businesses. They are often the very knowledgeable of some of the latest technologies and computer
software. They seem to have a nose for new potential markets. Perhaps you can team up with one. Find out what businesses they think are needed.
|Talk to inventors -- Inventors are notorious for their habit of collecting
ideas. They may have just the idea you need. If you are better at marketing than they are, it could be a great marriage. They might sell you the rights to their invention or just give you a few
ideas for free. Some regional inventor organizations can help put you in touch with some well known inventors. Patent lawyers also can suggest some. I think you will find them to be very open and
helpful in your quest for new business ideas.
|Find uses for items normally thrown out -- We throw away a lot of
potentially good stuff in our daily lives. Look around. Things like used soda cans and plastic bottles, old floppy disks, used printer paper, old computer chips, old computer monitors and old
tires may be collecting dust but maybe they could be turned into something useful.