MSC Malaysia UNITECH Programme 2009
Experiential Learning Session 2 & 3: BUSINESS IDEA GENERATION
“All achievement, all earned riches, have their beginning in an idea.” -Napolean Hill, author of “Think & Grow Rich”
What is a Biz Idea? • Ideas are concepts, plans or designs that are brought about by our innate ability and desire, to solve problems or to create and invent. Experience Skill Problems Self Opportunities
Ideas are concepts, plans or designs that come from our ability and desire to Solve Problem; to Create or to Invent. An idea is a value. A business idea is a concept which can be used for commercial purposes; i.e. making profit from these products or services.
Ideas or in this case Business Ideas are sparked from problems and/or opportunities that come from the problems. With our experience, or knowledge or even the culture that surrounds us can help us to find the solution to these problems. It typically centers around a product or service that can be sold for money, according to a unique ‘Business-model’.
What is the value that you are proposing, or selling? Value proposition is important to your potential customers. Highlighting your value proposition is vital at this early idea developmental stage.
There are several methods for developing and testing a business idea. The ability to come up with a business idea can be transformed into a viable business, where ideas supported by feasibility and a business plan can then be sold to interested investors, firms, and interested parties for a lump sum or a management contract, or as agreed.
Business ideas, if introduced at the right time, when demand for such service or a product introduced by the idea is expected to surge, can lead to a very profitable business. Business ideas are always available through different sources; however, it is the application applied on these ideas, and timing makes all the difference in failure or success.
Process of Generating Ideas FOOD
ENVIRONMENT •Population structure, income and taste •Import and export data •Technology and local sources •Industrial chain; etc.
•Experience, Knowledge and skills, Money, Interest
NEEDS & WANTS PRODUCTS
INITIAL SCREENING PROCESS
Process of Generationg Ideas:
Identifying the gaps or weaknesses in the current market. From all the major industries, i.e. Food, Clothing, Safety, Health, Transportation, and many more; identify all the gaps and weaknesses. Understand the individual industry’s environment: Population structure, income and taste Import and export data Technology and local sources Industrial supply chain, etc. Identify your own strength; i.e.your knowledge, experience, skills, money and interest. What are the needs and wants of the industry? Identify the gaps and hence the opportunity from it. These initial business ideas are still very much unpolished, and needs to be developed. These ideas could be in the form of products or services The business idea has to go through certain screening process to make it a viable business idea. What is the value proposition that you are offering?
IDEA GENERATION TECHNIQUES Introduction:
There are many techniques that can be used to generate ideas. It can be as simple as sitting and observing the society and identifying their problems and issues or it can be an Idea Generation Techniques Models which will be explained later; i.e. Brainstorming and SCAMMPERR. Ideas can be taken from everywhere. You can look at a problem and try to find solutions to it and have an active session with your closest friends and try to bounce your ideas to them. Observe their replies or remarks. You can even join of the idea-portals where people from the whole world gather to post their ideas in an online setup. The comments from other uses are their way to screen their usually unpolished ideas to become better and more viable. By joining such portals, they can also learn and get ideas from other users. But big organizations, they tend to have a more structured mode of generating ideas but with the same objective; to find solutions to problems. Hence these two techniques below.
Idea generation techniques: 1. Brainstorming 2. SCAMMPERR Notes:
BRAINSTORMING Brainstorming; the definition: Brainstorming is a group creativity technique designed to generate a large number of ideas for the solution of a problem. ...(en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brainstorming)
Advantages of Brainstorming: o
Large number of ideas in a short time period
Simple, no special expertise or knowledge required from the facilitator
Works best when participants come from a wide range of disciplines
Solutions can be found rapidly and economically;
Results and ways of problem-solving that are new and unexpected;
A wider picture of the problem or issue can be obtained;
The atmosphere within the team is more open;
The team shares responsibility for the problem;
Responsibility for the outcome is shared;
The Perfect brainStorm
Time & Schedule
Clear, Concise, Quantifiable, Achievable, Distributed Comfortable, Committed, Trust, Skilled, 10 ppl max
Call for meeting, restrict within 45 mins, schedule follow-up meeting
Quantity Vs Quality
All good ideas
Many small ideas to create a good big idea Rules! No such thing as a stupid idea Write and Act on your next course of actions
“Sleep on it” Use your unconscious mind
The Perfect Brainstorm
The slide above explains the ‘perfect brainstorm’. And for the perfect brainstorm to happen, there are certain criteria or rules that needs to be adhered to. The objective of the brainstorming session needs to be clear, concise, quantifiable, achievable and well distributed. The people who is taking part in the brainstorming session has to be seated comfortably, needs to be a committed group, with trust and skills. The participants ideally should not be more than 10 people. The session should not last more than 45 minutes at a time. Follow-up meetings can be arranged. The session should at the end of it produce many small ideas. It has to be a quick and concise session. All ideas are accepted; no idea is a stupid idea. Fromm that on, chart your course of action. Lastly, try to use your ‘unconscious mind’ to think over the ideas.
Idea Gen Techniques: SCAMMPERR SCAMMPERR is a check list that helps you to think of changes you can make to an existing product to create a new one. You can use these changes either as direct suggestions or as starting points for lateral thinking. S - Substitute - components, materials, people C - Combine - mix, combine with other assemblies or services, integrate A - Adapt - alter, change function, use part of another element M - Magnify - Make it enormous, longer, higher, overstated, added features M - Modify - increase or reduce in scale, change shape, modify attributes (e.g. colour) P - Put to another use E - Eliminate - remove elements, simplify, reduce to core functionality R - Rearrange - change the order, interchange components, change the speed or other pattern. R - Reverse - turn inside out or upside down.
Simplify Think about substituting part of your product/process for something else. By looking for something to substitute you can often come up with new ideas. Combine Think about combining two or more parts of your problems/opportunity to achieve a different product/process or to enhance synergy. Adapt Think about which parts of the product/process could be adapted to remove the problems/opportunity or think how you could change the nature of the product/process. Modify Think about changing part or all of the current situation, or to distort it in an unusual way. By forcing yourself to come up with new ways of working, you are often prompted into an alternative product/process. Put to use Think of how you might be able to put your current solution/ product/process to other purposes, or think of what you could reuse from somewhere else in order to solve your own problems/opportunity. You might think of another way of solving your own problems/opportunity or finding another market for your product. Eliminate Think of what might happen if you eliminated various parts of the product/process and consider what you might do in that situation. This often leads you to consider different ways of tackling the problems/opportunity. Rearrange Think of what might happen if you eliminated various parts of the product/process and consider what you might do in that situation. This often leads you to consider different ways of tackling the problems/opportunity.
Tips of idea gen Brainstorm with friends Ask other people for ideas Use one idea to spark a better one Read industry related information (local / international – news, articles, etc) • Be on lookout for biz opportunities • • • •
Sources of New Ideas.
Institutions of Higher Learning – UPM, UUM, Biotech Research Institute (UMS). There are hundreds of research papers at these institutes. By going through these research papers, we can understand the subject matter better and derive opportunities from it.
Research Agencies – SIRIM, MIMOS, FRIM, MARDI, BioValley Malaysia, Foreign institutes – German, French, Spanish, Japan etc. Again, these institutes have all the research papers, the statistics and the studies done by their members. All these information must present some opportunities that we can manipulate and derive business ideas.
Reading: Magazines, Books, Newspapers – not only in the business section. Reading is a very important tool to search for gaps and weaknesses in our society at large. Ideas can be derive from these gaps and weaknesses.
Experiences, network sessions, forums, seminars. This is another very good avenue to understand the gaps and weaknesses of the industry involved.
Online research. This is a basic tool to help us to source out for Business Ideas. This is a useful tool for fast idea searches.
The Fundamentals to a Good Idea A guide to planting the right seeds for a good idea: Financials – how is it going to be financed? What are the costing
Consumers Want it Better Alternative
Problem Solving, provides a need, is appealing? (refrigeration, ATM, Egyptian cotton, great brand name) Good management skills, confidence, expertise etc
Can they save money? If not, what other type of benefits can they expect??
Is this a better way to doing things?
The Fundamentals of a Good Idea
A good idea as a fool-proof value that profits both the seller and the buyer. Good ideas occur relatively frequently, but good business opportunities are a much rarer breed. Perhaps the answer to this is that it becomes a good opportunity when it has been fully evaluated with respect to the relevant fundamentals. Here are the fundamentals: The consumers want it; It is a better alternative (better can mean anything from being cheaper, better quality, nicer looking, pushes the boundaries, etc); Sound financials; Good people; better managed by better group of people in a better organization And most importantly, it solves problems and answers. The four main anchors of a business opportunity are; the creation or addition of value, the solving of a significant customer problem or need for which the customer will pay a premium, the presence of a robust market, margin, growth or IIR and, Finally a good fit between the business founders, the management team, the marketplace and the risk-reward balance. If an idea is to satisfy any, or all, of these four anchoring principles then it is a viable business idea and is ready to be developed into a product or services.