After the Eureka Effect

Are you an entrepreneur looking for a new business model idea? Ideally, that idea would show up like it did for Archimedes, but we’re not always that lucky. There are many ways to evaluate new ideas, but there seem to be fewer strategies for coming up with those new business concepts.

Here are three fun ideas you can use to identify new business ideas. They can help find problems to solve or new business models related to issues you’ve already identified.

  1. Explore the problem from other companies’ perspective. Think for a while about how X-company might solve the problem you've found? Identify specific companies that stand out in their lines of business, and you might find that new and helpful perspectives might come easily when you take on Eric Schmidt’s ability to use swarms of data, Robert Iger’s ability to create engaging and unforgettable experiences, or even Jack Welch’s relentless focus on efficiency.
  2. Play Apples to Apples: Yes, the game. First think of a problem you’d like to solve. Then try to think of ways your combination of nouns might solve for it. It's fun and easy and forces your brain to make pairings that it would probably never otherwise make.
  3. If all else fails, start making a list of things you hate. Identify those things you’ve dealt with for too long. Do you hate all the packaging on new tech gadgets, or how difficult it is to set up time for a doctor’s appointment? You’ve just found a problem you might want to tackle.

So, now that you’ve started a list of business models, what’s next? Teena Seelig from the Stanford Technology Ventures program spoke about the sweet spot for entrepreneurs in a video lecture on entrepreneurial thought leadership. The idea is that you should try to find ideas that you’re interested and passionate about (so you can actually enjoy your work and stay dedicated to your work), skilled at (so you have at least some hope of being successful) and where there is a market opportunity (so you can make money while you’re at it). 

Another model, somewhat similar, is the human centered design three lenses: desirability, feasibility, and viability. We can compare desirability to market – they are both things that we believe people are interested in paying for. And we’ll say that feasibility is similar to skills. It’s really not a 1:1 comparison, though, because a true entrepreneur would be able to identify other resources that can help them solve for the problems or roadblocks they’ve identified. Lastly, is the concept financially viable? Here it’s important to use your business acumen to determine if a revenue model can be generated around your new idea. 

Happy ideating.