In my classes, students often ask how they can come up with ideas that will be the backbone of a successful entrepreneurial company. In the New York Times today, Mickey Meece’s piece Inspiration Can Be Found in Many Places But You Have to be Looking, addresses that issue with some interesting examples.
I like to think that starting with the problem, or the pain in the marketplace is the right place to begin. But most people need to train themselves to look for that pain. Start looking at your neighborhood and come up with things that don’t exist that you wish did. At first, as you’re training yourself to see the pain, don’t get overly concerned with practicality or cost issues; that can come later. Once you train yourself to look at your world from the perspective of finding a problem and linking it to a solution (pain and aspirin), the ideas will come much more naturally.