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.
|Get a temporary job -- It may seem like a strange way to find ideas but many creative people
have been known to take temporary jobs for a change in their routine. The job may expose you to an area in badly need of improvements. Perhaps a new product could increase productivity or safety.
Find out what is thrown away. Maybe the business is not providing what the market wants. Gather as much information and generate as many ideas as you can. Leave when you feel you have enough.
|Take some night classes or attend some college lectures -- Check your regional schools. They
usually offer all kinds of night classes in a variety of subjects. Visit with the instructor after class, pick their brains. Talk to the people in the class. Even a class in stained glass art
could be a source of ideas. Classes in creative writing or computer programming can also be an aid. Try a class in something you have never experienced before. It may expose you to some unexpected
|Go on Company tours and visit museums -- Many local TV stations, manufacturing companies,
government laboratories and military bases give tours. Plan to ask a lot of questions. Let your imagination go wild. Look for anything that may be lacking. You might also plan to visit some local
museums. If I am visiting a new area of the country I always try to find the time to check out the local exhibits. There may be some real gems tucked away behind some dusty corner of a town that
may trigger something.
|Review your own list -- After you have compiled a sizable list you should set aside some time to
give your list a quick review. A good list of ideas will have a tendency to produce even more ideas. The association of certain words and concepts will often trigger more concepts. Perhaps you
also could give a copy of your list to a friend. He might also be able to add a few more items. As your list gets longer try randomly connecting two different ideas. Many times one and one makes
|What about all those ideas that aren't right for you? Maybe we should start a campaign. A "share your
ideas" campaign. A dusty old notebook is no place for an idea. If you don't plan to do anything with your ideas then let someone else have a crack at it. Think how many ideas must have been lost
over the years by never being given life. Maybe, we should all have an idea debriefing period in our lives. A time when we off-load those oldies but goodies. What do you think? If you have some
ideas that you would like to share, send them to me. If enough are sent in I'll include them in upcoming discussions. I will also make sure you get all the credit that is due you.
After compiling your vast list of new product and service ideas then you can begin the process of refinement and weeding out. In upcoming discussion I will give
you some tips on what ideas to zero in on. But, I suspect you already have an instinctive feeling about one or two on your list as being the ones your going to investigate in more detail.