Ask "Why?" To Kickstart Your Creativity

Monday, 15 August 2016 07:32
Blog author: 

It's a very good question!


Online crowdfunding websites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo can be great sources of creative inspiration for new product development...if you know how to apply them.

Curious to learn more? Read on, dear friends...

Ask "Why?" To Kickstart Your Creativity I visit crowdfunding websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo to seek creative inspiration for new product ideas. This in itself is likely unsurprising. What may be unexpected is that my primary interest is not the products being promoted.

I start by focusing on postings in an area of interest that have greatly exceeded their funding goals. This indicates to me that the ideas (and the consumer needs they address) resonate strongly with investors. This is an important kind of validation, as people typically only spend their own money on ideas they believe in.

Then, I will focus on the customer insight that drove the founder to conceive of his or her product. More specifically, I study the problem that the founder felt motivated to solve. This insight can represent a very rich source of creative inspiration for new product ideas.

The product concept for which the founder is seeking funding may not be the best way to address that particular consumer need. Therefore, I may choose to invest time working to digest the thinking that inspired the product idea, judge its validity, and how I might go about solving it differently.

Here's an example: Indiegogo features a video pitch for Skinners, a portable, washable, lightweight sock-type shoe that rolls up and occupies relatively little space in a travel bag.

Skinners promises to solve the portability problem that they assert sports enthusiasts and travelers experience when having to lug heavy shoes with them in order to enjoy their athletic and or outdoor activities.

The problem that Skinners was created to solve is said to be experienced by young, active individuals who transport their sporting shoes with them in a backpack or other carrier. While this may be true for their target customer, I am not convinced that a broader audience shares those same needs. As a an active baby boomer, considering my own needs, my athletic shoes are a highly personal choice based on fit and my intended usage. Unless my shoes get wet or muddy, my problem isn't really that my athletic/outdoor shoes are heavy and inconvenient to transport. Rather, it's that they can become sweaty and or dirty from activity and outdoor use, and they can occupy a fair amount of space in my travel bag. Further, I don't want sweaty, dirty, smelly shoes (particularly their soles) to come in contact with my clean clothes.

While Skinners is a clever solution and quite possibly well suited for its target audience, by focusing on the "why?" (or "jobs to be done") I have identified a different that would better address my needs. (Hint: it doesn't involve a totally new type of shoe). I can choose to evaluate my hypothesis and this idea with consumers (and prospective customers) to discern their interest and to learn if my thinking is on target.

So, when you look at new products featured on crowdfunding sites and the ideas that get submitted to your company by external parties, I suggest that you study 4 things: (1) the "who": the target customer, (2) product ideas (i.e. the "what") and (3) their enabling technologies (i.e. the "how") and very importantly, (4) the "why": the consumer insight that inspired the submission. These can provide strong launching points for your own business and new product ideas.

"Connecting You With The Right Solutions" BFS Innovations, Inc.

Since 2005, BFS Innovations has helped its Fortune 500 clients with technology scouting, new business creation and business development services. Contact Michael today at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at 614 937-2408 to discuss your company's needs.

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