How to Find Your Next Best Idea? Start Here

Seth Godin,  bestselling author and marketing guru really got my attention in his recent blog post “Resilience and the incredible power of slow change .” 

Why? I often talk to folks who are looking to generate a great business idea, but they don’t know where to start. Where do good ideas come from?  Ideas like Google or Facebook, or Starbucks?  I believe great ideas often get discovered simply by applying a new and different perspective to what already exists: seeing with new understanding.  For example, everyone is bemoaning the horrible economy. I say get creative:  with great upheaval comes great opportunity. What long-term trends combined with the current situation are creating new unmet consumer/business needs and desires that you or your company are uniquely suited to address?   Seth Godin reminds his readers to refocus attention away from crisis and toward the shifts in systems, processes and expectations.  Here’s an abridged excerpt from his thoughtful post:

“Most existing systems (organizations, cities, careers, governments) are resilient to external shocks. If they weren’t, they wouldn’t still be here. Earthquakes, edicts and emergencies come and they go, but the systems remain.

And yet, it’s the emergencies we pay attention to.

No single event demolished the music business. It was a series of slow changes over the course of two decades, all the way back to the CD.

Smoking killed far more people than terrorists ever did. It’s just not as dramatic.

Cultural shifts create long terms evolutionary changes. Cultural shifts, changes in habits, technologies that slowly obsolete a product or a system are the ones that change our lives. Watch for shifts in systems and processes and expectations. That’s what makes change, not big events.

Don’t worry about what happened yesterday (or five minutes ago). Focus on what happened ten years ago and think about what you can do that will make a huge impact in six months. The breaking news mindset isn’t just annoying, it may be distracting you from what really matters. As the world gets faster, it turns out that the glacial changes of years and decades are becoming more important, not less.”  (The boldface is my addition for emphasis)

So take look at long-term trends and changes, and couple your findings with creative insights from a wonderful book called “A Whole New Mind” by Daniel Pink.  If you don’t know how to start to analyze trends to find opportunity, this book can give you a jump-start.  Wikipedia  summarizes Pink’s premise: three prevailing trends are affecting business and the economy:

  1. Abundance (consumers have too many choices, nothing is scarce)
  2. Asia (everything that can be outsourced, is), and
  3. Automation (computerization, robots, technology, processes).

From here, Pink does some heavy lifting by paving potential pathways to future personal and professional success by identifying six human abilities that appear pertinent to this new economy:

  1. Design – Moving beyond function to engage the sense.
  2. Story – Narrative added to products and services.
  3. Symphony – Adding invention and big picture thinking (not just detail focus).
  4. Empathy – Going beyond logic and engaging emotion and intuition.
  5. Play– Bringing humor and light-heartedness to business and products.
  6. Meaning – The purpose is the journey, give meaning to life from inside yourself.

Even better, Pink provides exercises to help you develop and apply each of these abilities.  So if you  are looking for a new business idea, and/or to re-create yourself for more success in the future, try looking backward at your industry or your business per Godin, and then look forward with  some of Pink’s tools.  See anything in a different light?

Since almost nothing changes when you do the same thing the same way, just shifting your perspective might just help you to stumble upon the next big thing. What do you have to lose?

Check out Godin’s full post here and his website here.  More on Daniel Pink, click here.

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Date: Monday, 23. August 2010 13:06
Trackback: Trackback-URL Category: Career & Finance, Creativity & Fun Stuff

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