Sources for new ideas
Managers can try to search actively for new ideas by looking for inspiration from the following sources.
External sources: customers; lead-users (user solutions); patents/inventions; competitors; suppliers; acquisitions; trade fairs and conventions; published information; trade magazines; outside consultants; channel members; universities; government; law/regulations.
Internal sources: internal R&D; employees; engineering/IT; shelved ideas; complaints systems; customer service; sales force.
Here are four tips for success in acquiring and generating new ideas:
- Identify an important market and the company's goals for innovation in this market.
- Find the trends. Talk to people who lead that trend in terms of experience and intensity of need.
- Consult customers, suppliers, and their customers and suppliers, to find someone who knows even more about the area or the 'problem'.
- Hold a workshop with leading figures and your own personnel. Start by working in smaller groups and then all together in order to develop a product concept that involves a number of possible products.
The Ideation Stimulator Checklist (Small, 1953; 1981; in Crawford & Di Benedetto, 2008) is a concrete example of a systematic approach to developing new ideas (although not food-specific). It provides a list of considerations that are classified according to different aspects of the product:
|Dimensionality||Larger, smaller, longer, shorter, thicker, thinner, deeper, shallow, stand vertically, place horizontally, make slanted or parallel, stratify, invert (reverse), crosswise|
|Quantity||More, less, change proportions, fractionate, join something, add something to it, combine with something else, complete|
|Order||Arrangement, precedence, beginning, assembly/disassembly, focus|
|Time||Faster, slower, longer, shorter, chronological, perpetuated, synchronized, anticipated, renewed, recurrent, alternated|
|Cause/effect||Stimulated, energized, strengthened, louder, softer, altered, destroyed, influenced, counteracted|
|Character||Stronger, weaker, altered, converted, substituted, interchanged, stabilized, reversed, resilient, uniformity, cheaper, more expensive, add colour, change colour|
|Form||Animated, stilled, speeded, slowed, directed, deviated, attracted, repelled, admitted, barred, lifted, lowered, rotated, oscillated, agitated|
|State/condition||Hotter, colder, harden, soften, open or closed, preformed, disposable, incorporated, parted, solidified, liquefied, vaporized, pulverized, abraded, lubricated, wetter, drier, insulated, effervesced, coagulated, elasticized, resistant, lighter, heavier|
|Adoption to new market||
Men, women, children, old, handicapped, foreign