creating new products and finding new ideas

What is the trick?

How adept are you at creating new products and finding new ideas? Nothing is more dead than yesterday’s hot item. Customers are attracted to novelty. The blockbuster movie premiere, the newest restaurant on the block or the latest viral dance craze capture the media and lock in our attention.

Technology, interests and trends evolve at a breakneck rate. Fidget spinners come and go within weeks. Online software programs change by the hour. The new, interesting restaurant you’ve been meaning to try closes before the paint has dried on the walls.

Established businesses expand their offerings, re-package their products and re-invent themselves. Insurance companies, investment firms and financial advisors set up divisions to offer full-range financial services, competing with former colleagues. Restaurants change their menus. The Beatles (remember them?) had at least four re-inventions, positioning themselves as the ultimate trend setters.

Jumping on the bandwagon can mean you’re too late. Retailers stocked up on fidget spinners, only to sell them at drastic discount, almost upon arrival. Hummus and sushi were once rare and exotic; now they are boring and mainstream.

Creating new products and finding new ideas can be a matter of survival. As in the financial services sector, yesterday’s strategic partner can become today’s head-to-head competitor. You may serve the world’s greatest blue cheese burger, but along comes the burger with a fried egg on top, and you are old news.

Spend some time regularly, brainstorming new ideas and exploring possibilities. Here are several places to start.

Creating New Products and Finding New Ideas:

  • Take a look at your strategic partners, your competitors, and major players in your industry. What new things are they offering? Why are they moving in those directions? What trends are they anticipating? What customers are they targeting? What is the threat to you? What are the opportunities? What opportunities are they missing? How can you take advantage of the trends and opportunities?
  • Take a look at your products. What is selling, and what is not? Why? How can you modify or re-package your products, or develop new offerings, to relieve the next burning desire of your target customers?
  • Critically review social media. What channels are used by your customers? Go to those channels and see what they are seeing. Remember that your social media feed is biased toward your personal preferences. Find the media sources your customers use, and go directly to them to minimize bias. Based on that, what are your customers’ core needs and wants, and how can you meet them?
  • Develop and engage with a diverse business network. Build relationships with business leaders and professionals in a wide range of disciplines. Compare notes on trends and developments. Expand your horizons beyond the traditional trades or professional groups. Gain perspectives greater than those typically accessed by your competitors. Mastermind groups and inter-disciplinary professional groups can bring new ideas from other industries, which may be the perfect fit for your targeted niche.
  • Give yourself permission to be outrageous. How many crazy ways can you meet a need in the marketplace? What wild things can you do to resonate with your target customer? There are thousands of dogs who now look forward to their own puppy treat from drive-through baristas. Who would have imagined?

Moving Forward:

Spend time regularly assessing the market, projecting trends, and planning your position. Generate an avalanche of ideas. Explore options, and step forward with promising new products and ideas. Not all of them will be successful. But some will. Be a leader in your industry, creating new products and finding new ideas to position your business for success.