A driven entrepreneur is never satisfied with their product mix. Even if sales are great today, competition and trends are always evolving. This month’s cash cow can quickly become next month’s sales dud. The competition’s always thinking of new angles, how to improve existing products, or about new product ideas that haven’t been made.
The work of product innovation and iteration is indeed, never done. Brainstorming new innovative product ideas, therefore, is an essential part of your skillset. The tried-and-true methods of brainstorming ideas are tried-and-true for a reason. They can work.
Are they the only options, though?
New Product Ideas Can Come from a Variety of Sources
New product ideas can come from a variety of sources – both internal and external.
A search limited to just relying on yourself and your team can be short-sighted and fraught with tunnel vision. It’s easy to get caught up in groupthink and stifle creativity. It’s crucial to mix in an outward focus to complement internal product development and creative work to keep things fresh.
This mindset includes taking a look at competitors, inventors, and influencers in your niche to see how they are innovating and finding some trending products to sell or adapt.
Fundraising sites like Kickstarter and Indigogo can be a wellspring of new creative ideas. Are there easy invention ideas here that pique your interest? Could you take a product that’s already raising funds on these platforms and improve it by adding a feature or a new feature set?
If a product is raising money on a crowdfunding platform, it’s a decent indicator of social proof. Take this social proof as a signal that innovating or improving on this product could be even more powerful, and make for a great addition to your product line!
That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Let’s take a look at some exciting ways to develop creative and innovative product ideas.
Developing Creative and Innovative Product Ideas
Here are four unique ways to come up with some new product ideas that are outside-the-box, and will help give you an edge.
Use a Product Ideas Generator
As artificial intelligence gets more powerful and sophisticated, it makes our lives more manageable. It takes some of the heavy lifting off our hands and puts it in the hands of computer power.
Using a product ideas generator is a unique way to think about things differently. These generators can surface concepts – if not fully-formed innovative products – that can help you re-frame your mindset some and get creative.
If nothing else, using one for a few minutes can help you source some ideas to add to your mind-mapping or random back of napkin sketches.
You never know when all the pieces will come together, and something you glean from an idea generator could be the missing piece to the puzzle you’re thinking through.
Get Outside to Find Things That Need to Be Invented
There’s a “soft” trap that emerges when you sit behind a desk, a computer screen, or in front of a whiteboard working on new product ideas.
In essence, you start thinking that the acts of product research, iteration, and conception alone solve a problem. When, in fact, the product you’re pondering may not solve a problem at all, but instead be a far-fetched passion project that doesn’t have a real-world application.
It’s vital to get outside and see how customers behave in your niche to see what problems they encounter, and how creating a product to solve those problems could be lucrative.
Take a walk around the busy areas of your city (post coronavirus, of course) and see what people are doing. How do they interact with one another? What bottlenecks or inefficiencies do you see that are fixable through the development of a creative product?
Put yourself in others’ shoes. Talk to them. Think about how to ease their frustrations.
What product would make their lives easier?
Develop a pair of “problem-solving eyes.” Over time, it’ll become second-nature. The ideas will start to flow from conversations and interactions with others, as well as your own thoughts.
New Product Ideas Can Come From Your Customers
Your customers can be some of your greatest product visionaries. After all, who has a more intimate and direct relationship with the products you create than your customers?
While it’s crucial to solicit your customers for new product ideas through interviews, focus groups, and the like, it’s equally important to allow for some spontaneity.
Make your contact or feedback forms highly visible on your website so people can reach out and talk about their experiences with your product – both positive and negative. This information that comes straight from the source can be invaluable as you continue to iterate on and improve your product lines.
Don’t Forget About Eco-Friendly and Sustainable Products
Our world is changing rapidly. People are starting to actively consider the impact daily behavior and actions have on our planet.
Along those lines, eco-friendly products and sustainable products are something to consider adding to your product lines. No matter what you’re producing, it’s possible to make an eco-friendly or multiple-use version of the same product.
Coming up with new product ideas is challenging. There’s no doubt about that. The process requires a sustained creative mindset that can be taxing. However, it can result in surprising new products that can make an impact on your business for years to come!
Be creative, and you’ll be amazed and what might bubble to the surface!
Gembah helps e-Commerce sellers, consumer brand builders, and growing small businesses demystify the product innovation process all the way from design to manufacturing. Click here to learn more about our process and how we can help you develop that next great product to take to market!