Generating new product ideas is a must for any business. New products are what keep established businesses profitable and allow start-up businesses to boom. There are a number of ways to generate new product ideas. Consultants often charge a hefty fee to brainstorm product ideas for businesses. However, anyone can generate new product ideas for free by being observant and creative and simply asking for them.
Things You'll Need
- An observant attitude
- The ability to think creatively
Observe what's around you and what's been done before. Think of the products you use every day, whether in your business or at home. What can be improved? In 1921 a man named Earle Dickinson noticed that his wife was always cutting her fingers while preparing food. Back then bandages were made of a separate piece of gauze and a piece of adhesive that had to be individually measured and shaped. Dickinson decided to stick a square of gauze to the center of the adhesive and wrap the entire piece around his wife's fingers, while encasing the bandage in crinoline for cleanliness. In that moment, Dickinson invented what's now known as the Band-Aid. If there is a product that you find to be essential to your day, analyze its basic components. What does the product lack? By filling in these blanks, you've generated new product ideas.
Think creatively about pre-existing products. For example, combining two pre-existing products can produce a wealth of new product ideas. Consider a paper-clip and a stapler. A stapler works by a feeding mechanism that pushes the staples forward and another mechanism that uses pressure to press the staplers through paper. One recently patented device takes the mechanics of a stapler and applies it to paper clips, to make an automatic paper-clip dispenser. These product ideas don't have to be limited to the business and office environment. Combining genres (especially those that seem inimical to each other) is a great way to develop new product ideas. For example, a popular movie released in 2008 could be described as 'Immediate Family' and 'Napoleon Dynamite'. That finished product is the movie 'Juno', about a quirky pregnant teenager.
Ask for product ideas from customers. If you're an already established business you know that maintaining correspondence with customers is a great business practice. It makes your customers feel valued and increases the chances of them using your service or product again. However, many businesses give customers the chance to communicate with passive statements like, 'Tell us how we're doing' or 'Send comments or concerns here'. Instead, be specific about the input you want. Invite customers to give you ideas about what kind of products they would like you to offer, or improvements they feel can be made to existing products. Again, this reinforces the customer's sense of importance while giving your business ideas for new products.