Ideas are worth a penny but good ideas don’t come cheaply or easily; at least to the most of us. We tend to think of inventors as another species—geniuses—who have sudden flashes of insight. Some of us can’t think of a single instance when a light bulb went off in our head, leading to some killer new idea. According to historians who specialize in the development of inventions and the thought processes of inventors, innovation is often a slow and iterative process. [National Geographic].
- Your Interests
There are somethings that interest us and perk our attention every time. We are curious about these subjects and largely fascinated by how they work. For me, it was majorly how business works. I am fascinated by the entire process of taking an idea and turning it into a big business; I take time out of my day to read biographies and stories about how companies and entrepreneurs began as this feeds my curiosity and increases my marvel. So what’s that thing you can’t get enough of, it could be as simple as how machines operate or as complex as how the internet works. When you look deeply into these interests, an idea might just come out. An example is Microsoft
- Your Problems
Yeah, we all have something that has proven difficult to do or attain. These problems could be as small as the difficulty you experience when packing for a trip, your inability to decide on which movie to watch or what book to read next or as complex as finding the right mate or preparing a business plan. The catch here is that most of these problems are common to a lot of people and not just you. All you need is to find a problem that is common enough (ask friends, family even strangers if they experiencing the same challenge), find a solution to it and sell your solution. The solution must be replicable and easily accessible. An exploration of these problems often creates a niche product/service. An example is Quora
- Your Past Experiences
Many times we visit a different country or state or meet a new friend and experience things we weren’t privy to before or things that weren’t available to us. You come back and can’t seem to get over the experience; you find yourself referring to it a lot in your conversations with people and wishing to go back to get more of it. This is a potential idea generation source; the idea for a lot of business franchises came about like this and you can easily turn your experience into a successful business. Begin to look closely into what made the experience special, how it is run, what is needed for it to run and start exploring the idea of replicating it where you are now. This works both ways, if you are currently away from home; in a new culture or place, seek out new places and experiences; you never know something may catch your fancy. An example is Uber in Lagos.
- Your Hobbies and Passions
There many things that we enjoy doing and can do with little effort or training such as designing, sewing, reading, writing, shopping, using social media, generating creative ideas or even watching and arguing about football matches. Your hobby could very well solve someone else’s problem. For example, if your hobby is reading, you can read books and write reviews of them published as an article which would help book readers easily make decisions about what book to read. You can market that blog, gain traffic and monetize your blog and in time you will be getting paid to do what you love, reading. Start taking a critical look at your hobbies; you would be surprised what you find.
- Your Training or Expertise
The norm is to go to school, learn something and then work for someone. Why don’t we tweak this a little; go to school, develop expertise and start a business! Many of us go to school to learn something and don’t even use it because we couldn’t get a job in that field but why don’t we create a business around what we are trained in? So you studied chemistry and you are working as a customer service agent, you can start making soaps or other useful chemicals during the weekends and delivering to stores; you read economics and you are working as a marketer; you can be a financial analyst for small businesses, helping them prepare their financial documents or you can even create a blog where you breakdown and simplify financial issues or analyse economies of big companies or countries. Don’t waste your training and the time and money you spent acquiring that qualification; you are already an expert in something, you can as well make money from it.
- Your grudges/frustrations or irritations
I don’t know about you but some things don’t stop to annoy me. For example, how long the queue is at the polling booth, the mistakes guys keep making when asking a girl out, the discomfort of public transport, the long queues at banks; the list is endless. Getting angry and staying angry about things isn’t wise nor is it healthy, you can put your energy to better use and alleviate your hurt by seeking for a permanent solution to those irritations; and what better place to get ideas other than problems.
An idea must come from somewhere, because if it merely stays where it is and doesn’t join us here, it’s hidden. And hidden ideas don’t ship; have no influence, no intersection with the market. They die, alone…Seth Godin
Go. Find your hidden idea and show it to the world!