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Design

How to Brainstorm for Innovation

By: Tallwave

"Stop and think."

This is my dad’s official motto when trying to solve a problem. I’ve heard it my whole life- either he’s saying it to himself or to me as a piece of fatherly advice.

His next piece of advice: “You only have to be 10% smarter than the object you’re operating.” Simple, but surprisingly motivating. This also happens to be the best advice I can give to entrepreneurs.

An idea is like a baby.You protect it and nurture it, and even before it’s born you are in love and find yourself picking out colleges. As exciting as this is, it’s also where the risk lies. You fall in love with the execution of an idea too soon.

Before you charge forward with executing your idea, stop and think. Seriously, I challenge you to spend half a day getting dirty, ideating and iterating on all the possible permutations. You might know the end game and the value proposition, but do you know whether users want to do what you are asking or if your approach to the market is the right one to achieve your goals?

Let me give you an example.

Let’s say you have a product that aims at improving online searching and bookmarking. Your initial vision is a browser plugin that remembers your favorite places and recommends search results based on what you like. Could be cool, right?

Now, stop and think. The vision has potential, but will that execution drive the highest engagement and build momentum as quickly as possible? Maybe. But before picking that route, consider brainstorming some different permutations. What if instead you created an API that worked with a bunch of existing products with large user bases? What if your product was super targeted toward a very specific demographic, like high school students? You see where this is going, right? Great.

Here are a couple of my favorite brainstorming activities to help drive innovation. Give it a shot. If you need more help, you can always call us.

3-12-3
Awesome for coming up with variations of a concept or idea.

How, Now, WOW
Great for “closing” or ranking some of those ideas you came up with during the 3-12-3 activity.

Wellbeing North Star
Great for evaluation of an idea. I like to flip this one around by focusing outward to analyze competition in order to better understand where there is opportunity for disruption.

Written by Tallwave

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