During a group ideation session dedicated to eliciting new applications for a proprietary, nonwoven material, Acme Company process engineer Rachel Reynolds suggests that consumers could use it to rapidly dry delicate items that shouldn't be placed in a clothes dryer. In conceiving of this idea, Rachel remembered the challenges she and her collegiate friends faced to quickly and inexpensively dry laundry items while living in a small apartment lacking a clothes dryer. For instance, they would use towels to help dry their delicates, their heating vents (during winter) to help dry towels, and makeshift drying racks to air-dry other clothing items.
This colorful background info could have served as a launching pad to explore a range of convenient, economical and effective solutions for people with limited access to conventional laundry appliances. However, the ideation session only captured the idea, not the supporting rationale. Therefore, Rachel's rich insights and the additional business opportunities they might have suggested were lost as these were never shared.
As a side note, I haven't conducted a market analysis to conclude whether or not an opportunity remains for alternative laundry solutions. It could be worth considering. For perspective, here are several clever laundryproducts developed and commercialized to capitalize on what their developers perceived as opportunity:
My point is: when ideating, seek to capture the "why" (the supporting insights) as well as the "what" (the idea), where sensible to do so (it isn't always appropriate, and not all ideas have a "backstory"). Consumer insights can be emotionally rich and can provide a terrific basis for further invention, even if these nuggets should be mined in a separate creative exercise.
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