What is Ideation?
Ideation is the creative process of generating, sharing and developing new ideas for a problem or a challenge.
What is a business idea?
• Impression of a concept:
This means it is only an impression. It is not something concrete. It is a concept – an abstract idea of a commodity that can be publicized.
• Around a product or a service:
Every business offers product/s or service/s or even
processes as solutions.
• Assumed to have the potential to make money:
This means that with a business idea, it is an assumption that by selling the product or service, the business will make money. At the idea stage, there is no proof that the business will make money, it is only an assumption.
Three elements of Innovative Ideas
An idea should be viable, desirable and feasible. A blend of these three components is
what leads to innovative and sustainable ideas.
• Desirability refers to assessing whether the product/service is
desired/needed/wanted by a group of humans.
• Viability refers to calculating whether the business idea will eventually be
profitable/sustainable, i.e. will it actually become a business with regular
transactions and make money.
• Feasibility refers to whether the product/service can be practically, realistically and
feasibly developed. It is a blend of market, financial, technical and operational
However, the first thing to start with, when you think of an idea, is that how
desired/needed it is among customers.
Factors to consider before choosing an idea:
• Problem it solves for the customer
• Desirability in the market
• Practical feasibility
• Financial viability
• Scope of growth
• How is it different from competitors in the market?
Sources of Ideas
Solve a Problem:
As we have seen, identifying a problem and framing it helps move
towards solving a problem. The first trigger to a business idea is to find something that
frustrates you. Next is to find out whether it frustrates other people too. Look around you
for problems. Sometimes, start-ups solve problems for customers when they do not even
know they have it.
Improve an existing solution:
Some questions you should consider are- “What is the biggest hassle about using or buying a product or service that people unnecessarily tolerate without knowing it? Would customers want it to be cheaper? Would they want it to be more efficient?
Customers use various products and services in their daily lives and do not even realize its shortcomings.
Transform an existing idea:
Changing your orientation towards a particular product or exploring options in other countries or cities that can fit into or can be customized for your community are some ways in which entrepreneurs
For example, Today, Crocs is perceived as a footwear brand that manufactures and
distributes funky and comfortable shoes. The design of Crocs shoes was inspired from
boating shoes. One of the three founders wore a pair of boating shoes that he had bought
from Canada when they went sailing. The thing that was special about his shoes was a
special material that did not slip on wet surfaces, was easy to wash, prevented odour and
made the shoes feel comfortable. The three of them thought of turning it into a business
selling a new design of such Canadian shoes to sailing enthusiasts. They started their first
two products, naming them Beach and Cayman. The shoes became so popular that the
company turned it into a global brand specializing in funky and comfortable shoes designed
especially for kids and then expanding it for men and women as well.
Turn your hobby/passion into a business:
Most of us have hobbies—work that we do in our free time to nourish our spirits and challenge ourselves. You might enjoy your hobby now, but to turn it into a business or profession, you will need concentration, persistence and dedication.
Open innovation refers to implementing and developing an idea by involving customers or users. This can be very useful when you are trying to overcome a challenge that your
organization is facing and you need more ideas to solve it. Various companies use open
innovation to build a better product before getting to the market. Wikipedia is the most well-
known example of open innovation. It has 85,000 author volunteers that work simultaneously on the platform.
It is a form of business in which a franchisor(owner) of a product or a service
obtains distribution through affiliated dealers (franchisers). It is a continuing relationship in
which a franchisor provides a licensed privilege to the franchise to do business and offers
assistance in organizing, training, merchandising, marketing and managing in return for
profits and brand expansion. In franchising, you implement a ready-to-use concept. Various fashion and food brands work on the franchise model.
Follow policy changes, current events and industry trends:
In India, there are various government policies that were launched such as Start-up India, Make in India, National Policy for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship 2015 etc. which provide a variety of opportunities and benefits to entrepreneurs. Current events such as changes in laws or policies might lead to interesting business ideas. For example, after same gender marriages became legal in Canada, entrepreneurs began selling tourist travel packages that include a marriage ceremony to same gender couples from other countries.
Creativity is a way of thinking, looking for opportunities and alternatives, it’s an ability to generate ideas by combining, changing and reapplying existing ideas. Creativity does not just mean being a good artist. Idea generation is about creativity. The good thing is, you can learn to be creative and a problem solver.
Brainstorming is another technique to come up with a broad range of ideas. It is aimed at going for quantity and coming up with as many ideas as possible. No idea is considered to be crazy or bizarre.
A few things to ensure when brainstorming is:
• Get into a small group setting. The more diverse the group is, the better it is. More ideas can be generated as people from different backgrounds have different exposure and experiences.
• Be passionate about the problem you are solving. Make sure you have understood the problem.
• Focus on creation here. This is not the time to be critical. Evaluation of ideas comes much later. During brainstorming, it is important to withhold your judgement.
• When brainstorming for a specific issue, think about how it is done today in the current scenario. After that, think of alternatives to do it.
• Build on the ideas of others. After you have written and posted your ideas, look at the ideas of your team members and build on it.
• Have all your ideas in front of you. Eliminate any redundant ideas, put similar ideas next to each other, add ideas where you can find a missing link, list down the themes that emerge after clubbing different ideas together and prioritize these ideas and themes.
Scamper is a set of seven thinking techniques mean to assist those who utilize them in
discovering typical solutions to problems.
SCAMPER is an acronym, with each letter
representing a different technique that can used to trigger creative ideas:
Substitute: Take one thing or part away and add something else
Combine: Put one or two things together to create something completely new
Adapt: Change something so that it can be used in a specific situation
Modify/Minify/Magnify: Change size, shape or colour or any specific trait and reimagine it
Purpose/Put to Other Use: Use it in a way that it wasn’t meant to be used. Change the purpose it is used for.
Eliminate: Remove any unnecessary element that might create an issue or a problem
Reverse/Rearrange: Change the direction or orientation. Look at it differently. May be move it upside down or use it backwards.
How to look for problems?
1. Observation (See): It starts with observing one’s surroundings, and noticing
unusual aspects, unique incidents, repetitive patterns etc.
2. Detailed Observation (Think): Once observations have been made, those observations which make sense or make one feel curious must be revisited. This means questioning why something is happening or exploring whether there is a pattern or repetitive problem identified among multiple observations
3. Seeing a Problem (Analyze): Once a pattern or repetition has been identified, The next step is to analyze and delve into what is the actual problem. It is like peeling the onion and going deep into what is exactly the problem.
4. Problem Size (Mass vs Niche): Once the problem is identified, the next question that needs to be asked is how many people experience the problem. This refers to the problem sizes. Is it a problem experienced by a large number of people? Or is it something few people feel in a specific region.
5. Market (Business Opportunity if a mass or niche problem): After the size of the problem is identified, the final step is to assess if the problem is worth solving. This means identifying the reasons, hurdles, challenges, risks, market potential etc. related to the problem. There is a difference between a business opportunity and a problem/need. A problem or a need becomes a business opportunity only there are enough number of people in the market willing to pay for the problem to be solved, i.e. if there is a market for it.
From Problem to Market:
If a real market exists for the problem, then some questions to ask are:
• What is the problem? – This means defining the exact problem
• Is it actually a problem? – This means assessing how many people actually say/feel that it is a problem that must be solved.
• Who faces the problem? – This refers to describing which kind/type pf people feel that the problem exists.
• Why is it a problem? – This means understanding why the problem really exists and getting to the core of it.
• Is the problem worth solving? – This refers to how many people are willing to pay for a solution for the problem.
Describe the Problem:
To understand and describe the problem in detail, consider the following questions and
try to answer them:
• When did the problem first appear?
• What factors or events led to this problem?
• What factors or events made the problem more evident?
• How and to what extent is this problem affecting the market?
“How might we (verb) the (process step/outcome) for (target user)?”
Frame a problem in the problem area in this format: “How might we…” statement For example,
How might we reduce (verb) digital addiction (outcome) of kids aged between 3 to 8 years (target user)?
How might we increase (verb) engagement and interest in online sessions (outcome) for
college students (target user)?
Two Sources of Problem Search:
1. Pain Points: Pain Points are those points where customers exhibit frustrations
when they interact with a product or a service.
2. Opportunities & Needs: Opportunities & needs refer to solving a latent need or
creating a need in the market. A latent need is something which is hidden and it is
not obviously stated by customers. It can usually be figured out by observing
customer behavior and drawing insights. Some products/services intend to create
a need or market, i.e. the customer develops a habit of using it and hence it turns
into a need.
How: Use the SCAMPER technique on Zomato
1) Which of the following is not an element of Innovative Idea?
2) Which of the following does not fall under product need?
3) What is Franchising?
a) Service or product distribution through affiliates
b) Owner expanding a new branch
c) Selling of existing product or business
d) Expanding of business on international level
4) Scamper was created by _________?
a) Ronaldo Lucius
b) Bob Erbele
c) Marie William
d) Bruno Mars
5) Which of the following is not an Ideal way to find/look for a problem?