An innovative idea is the starting point of every new business. The new product solves an existing problem or brings a whole new world of possibilities for the industry. However, we all have experienced that identifying the problem is only the first step on the long road to an innovative solution. This road called ‘generating a great idea’ is paved with many creative and strategic challenges. But no worries – there are also as many techniques for creative thinking and business model development to guide you through this road. Whether you are about to launch a startup or update your existing business model, we’ve got you covered with a selection of the best three creative thinking techniques. Get inspired by them!
Creative thinking techniques – how to generate an innovative idea
These techniques will help you think outside the box and generate non-standard ideas that may lead you to an innovative breakthrough.
Creative thinking techniques – tip #1: Four Actions Framework
The first step leading to an innovative product or service is to analyze the status quo of the relevant industry. An effective way to do that is the Four Actions Framework, one of many techniques of the Blue Ocean Strategy. It works by stating yourself the following four questions: (1) Which factors should be eliminated? (2) Which factors should be reduced? (3) Which factors should be raised? And (4) Which factors should be created? By going through these questions you are able to gain an overview, which gives you a solid ground for your ideas.
Creative thinking techniques – tip #2: Forced Analogy
The associative technique Forced Analogy is a very helpful and fun-filled method of generating new ideas. Take a random extraneous object that has nothing in common with the problem and try and build relationships with it. The crucial part is to make the link from abstract associations to useful solutions. By forcing analogies between an ice cube and a bank account you might find that the latter one can also be transparent and versatile. This kind of comparison can give you new insights, inspiration and – most of all – non-standard ideas.
Creative thinking techniques – tip #3: Escape Thinking
Just think about how many assumptions we carry – for example restaurants have chairs, serve food and charge money for it. Try to turn it into the opposite, for example “restaurants do not have chairs”. This way you escape from deadlocked patterns, thus paving the way for new ideas. Key for this Escape Thinking technique is to identify and question assumptions and therefore be able to come up with innovative solutions.
Sealing the business model – how to make your innovative idea profitable
So now you have gone through the creativity process and generated an innovative product or service idea. But to make this solution profitable you also need a sustainable business model. There are several techniques to help you develop your own business model. The best known is the Business Model Canvas – a visual tool for generating new business models strategically. Another simpler model is the NABC: It asks you to get to the heart of the Needs of the customer, of the Approach for a solution, as well as of the Benefits of your idea and the Competition in the market. The NABC model is very helpful, especially for presenting your business idea with clear arguments and in a convincing way to your listeners.
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