Ignore, Copy and Steal. When Ideas Go Public.

December 18th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

When you have an idea and make the idea public, one of three things will happen, and what you should learn from each one…

1. Everyone will ignore the ideaWhat could this mean… Your idea did not fill a need or a desire. The conditions may not be prime. Learn from this experience by studying current social and market trends, including basic human needs. Every idea must fill a core human need.

2. Someone will unsuccessfully copy the idea – In other words, they end up creating an inferior product and yours remains the better of the two, and gains greater traction. Learn from their mistakes. Other people’s mistakes often give us an insight into the strengths of our ideas, giving us even a greater opportunity to leverage on the strengths.

3. Someone will successfully copy the idea – They steal the idea and make it better. If you have no option for legal repercussion – learn from their success, your failure, and move on.

Takeaway: Learn from each scenario, whether or not your idea was a success.

What is Innovation?

September 24th, 2010 § 6 comments § permalink

Innovation is the successful exploitation and execution of the opportunity of an idea within a business model.

Innovation – This is the space following an idea generation session (creative thinking, brainstorming, etc.). Innovation deals more with quality, evaluation and implementation. It’s an idea that has the proper resources supporting it and ideal market conditions ahead. Innovation is about moving a novel idea into an idea of value that fills a specific need. Identifying an innovative idea can be a creative process.

Idea Generation – The generation of ideas. This deals with quantity and novelty. This is what we typically refer to as Creativity.

Opportunity – An opportunity looks at and depends on resources (capital, staff, sales team, etc.), and conditions (consumer need & desire, idea value, competition, timing, etc.)

Bottom Line: Innovation is when a highly creative person becomes a successful entrepreneur.

Characteristics of a Problem As Ideas

September 16th, 2010 § 1 comment § permalink

Smaller sets are manageable – whether they are people, projects or things. We’re able to see them in their entirety. We understand the dynamics, processes, resources and forces involved. And we have a greater and more intimate control over the smaller sets.

A trip is seemingly shorter and manageable when frequent stops are part of the journey.

When problems arise, they often present themselves as a complex cacophony of stuff that must be timely addressed and resolved. To navigate through a problem, we need to first understand the territory that makes up a problem, then begin to look at the individual characteristics of the problem to generate solutions.

When problems arise, any of the following characteristics are creating the problem:

» Read the rest of this entry «

Criteria For a Successful Startup

July 30th, 2010 § 2 comments § permalink

Every successful entrepreneur has his own criteria for measuring the success factor of an idea for starting a business. There is also value in studying how others make decisions. Norm Brodsky, a veteran entrepreneur who founded and built half a dozen large companies, uses a simple approach when starting a business.

According to Brodsky, three factors must be at play when venturing out:

An Established Concept

Education can be expensive. Educating the masses can be really expensive, not to mention a daunting task for a business to undertake. Stick with something people are familiar with.

Focusing on an established concept does not lessen your ability to create innovative and revolutionary products. Take Apple for example. They’ve been doing the same thing since day one – developing technology that is intuitively simple, functional and beautiful. The iPad, the iPhone, the Touch – these are all familiar devices. The market does not need a crashcourse on what these devices are and what they do. Yet, they are truly remarkable products that challenge our accepted perception of what technology is able to do, how it’s able to do it – and its aesthetics. Human-centered design has been around for centuries, yet Apple continues to push the envelope.

Takeaway – Instead of painfully searching for the “next big wow thing”, identify a familiar or understood industry/product and build upon it. Just look at what Aaron Patzer did with mint.com – genius!

» Read the rest of this entry «

Testing Your Ideas

June 11th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

No entrepreneur wants to waste their time developing a business idea that will only end up flopping. Here’s a simple test to determine whether your idea has a chance of becoming valuable and desirable, or you’re just wasting your time and resources.

The above drawing takes into account two factors, PR value and Needs value.

Bottom Left -If your idea falls into this quadrant, just stop. No one will ever buy your product, nor will the press care for the lack of a story.

Top Left – This quadrant can be described as the typical publicity stunt without the proper backing. The story is great. PR loves it. Mass exposure is achieved. But the immediate rise is short-lived after the public realizes your product is without value and doesn’t fill an actual need.

Bottom Right – A great idea without PR support is paved with a journey of an uphill push. Eventually the product will make it into the mass market, only after it’s passed the chasm.

Top Right – If you’re story or idea is newsworthy, it is the best free advertising anyone can get. If you’re story is really good, it will spread like wildfire through blogs, tweets and likes. A great idea coupled with immediate publicity equals a true winner.

Bottom line, as you come up with ideas, make sure people will buy it and there’s an interesting story behind it for the press to eat up.

Thank you @gaeblerdotcom for sharing your approach on Gaebler.com

Deductive & Inductive Reasoning As Opportunities

May 28th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

The greatest ideas typically result from Abductive Reasoning, where one looks at a set of seemingly unrelated data with the understanding that a solution is there.

Two additional reasoning methods can be used to develop ideas and explore opportunities, Deductive and Inductive Reasoning.

Deductive Reasoning (DR) begins with a Theory, an observation or speculation about a particular interest or subject; a belief. According to the New Oxford American Dictionary, a definition of Theory is a “supposition or a system of ideas intended to explain something, esp. one based on general principles independent of the thing to be explained.” A Hypotheses is then formed around the Theory, to provide an explanation that is not based on concrete evidence. Through a series of testing, observations and prototyping the Theory is proven either true or false. DR works from the general to the specific.

  • Application: DR works well with existing ideas (products, services, beliefs). Implementing DR in a creative session can expose weaknesses of a particular idea, thus providing an opportunity to improve the idea, or create a new one.

Inductive Reasoning (IR) works from the specifics (observations, testing, prototyping) to the general (The Theory).

  • Application – IR is a great tool that can be used by entrepreneurs to identify and capitalize on trends. By observing cultural nuances, social shifts and early-adopter behaviors, theories can be concluded and turned into entrepreneurial opportunities.

Having a broader understanding of reasoning and logic, additional approaches are available for identifying and generating ideas.

To Identifying The Purpose, Answer the "Why" Question

May 18th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

At the beginning of the day, every organization must ask themselves the provocatively dumb “Why?” question; “Why are we doing this?”

Non-monetary success cannot be determined without understanding your true purpose behind what you do? Getting into business to make money is not the purpose, it is merely a result of the vision that birthed the idea which has been translated into a viable business.

Organizations like Apple and Starbucks understand their Why, Microsoft and Dunkin Donuts does not.

Variations of Why Questions:

  • Why should anyone care about what you do?
  • Why are you doing what you’re doing?
  • Why should you, the leader, care about your idea?
  • Why do you think your idea (product, service, belief, etc.) is needed in this world?
  • Why should your customers spend their money on your idea?
  • Why should your employees care and support your idea?

If the above questions cannot be answered, your business is simply just operating without a true purpose – even if monetary success is achieved.

Law of Diffusion of Innovation

May 13th, 2010 § 6 comments § permalink


Innovators 2.5% – These are the ground-breakers, the risk-takers, the creative thinkers and entrepreneurs whom by nature are designed to change the world.

» Read the rest of this entry «

Building Right Questions with a Thesaurus

December 23rd, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

What was the question asked that inspired the development of Anti Wi-Fi Paint to neutralize radio frequencies. Certainly it was not “Let’s make paint that will neutralize wave frequencies“. The question asked was, “How can we stop radio frequencies from traveling through unwanted spaces and environments?

The end-results heavily depend on the coining and molding of the right question. Here’s a simple exercise to mold a great question:

  • Begin with your initial question/statement – whether it’s a challenge, a problem or an opportunity at hand
  • Write it down across the top of a page
  • Identify key words in your statement
  • Using a Thesaurus, begin to create variations of your statement by replacing the key words
  • Statements and questions with fresh perspectives will begin to form. Pay close attention to the variations.

Below is a very basic example to illustrate the point. For a creative entrepreneur and an innovator, each statement opens very different possibilities and solutions:

  • How can I travel to Miami more quickly (original statement)
  • How can I drive to Miami more directly
  • How can I fly to Miami instantly
  • How can I connect with Miami more instantly
  • How can Miami travel to me

It's Not the Economy, Stupid

December 7th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

Procter & Gamble, IBM, General Electric, General Motors, United Technologies Corp, FedEx, Hyatt, Burger King, IHOP, The Jim Henson Company, CNN, MTV, HP, Ocean Spray Cranberries, Yellow Book USA – Just a few of the companies started during recessions, depressions, economic slumps, and difficult times.

It’s not tough times or desperate measures that lead to innovative, ground breaking ideas and new ventures. It is the drastic change of external circumstances that force the mind to break out of routines. The mind naturally defaults to the easiest and safest way of thinking. It is the disruption of these typical thinking patterns that force the mind to think differently.

Break the mind out of routine:

Travel a different route to the office this week
Use a different mug for your coffee/tea. And, brew something new
Read a blog on a topic you’ve never explored
Follow people on Twitter that are outside your industry and interests
Switch up your morning routine
Start shopping at the opposite end of the grocery store

Just Think, and New Ideas Will Flow (if you change the way you think)