As my friendtor Janice Frasier has said “The best way to come up with a good idea is to come up with a lot of ideas.” I’ve written several times before about our technique for brainstorming, and we’ve even created a free brainstorm app to use whenever inspiration strikes. But there is a difference between using a simple dump and sort method to pick your best ideas and taking a product idea through specific steps to validate that this idea is worth pursuing.

Ask important questions

Your team will want to ask some tough questions that all boil down to “will it be worth it?” These questions are so important that we have two whole sessions in our Innovation Workshop course that help answer if it will “be worth it”.

Here are a few of the questions you’ll want to ask. 

  • How will this make or save money for the company?
  • How much money could this make or save?
  • How much could it cost to create?
  • Do we have the expertise to create it ourselves?
  • How else might our team benefit (besides financially)? 

Obviously, there is an ideal order to ask these questions, and we’ve found the best results when we’ve collaborated with others to answer these questions.

Just enough research

Lastly, it can be tempting to dive really deep and spend hours researching, but we recommend spending less than 30-45 minutes and keeping your answers vague to start. For example, don’t try to figure out if the app might save $130k/yr vs $145k/yr. 

Could it save $100-250k? Great. That’s enough fidelity to start, and it’s a big enough number that it could justify doing further research later.

Here’s the thing

No one wants to spend time on an idea that will ultimately be a “no go.” So asking a few qualifying questions up front make sure your time is well spent. The last exercise in our FREE mini-course on product idea generation is called “Gut Check”, and it asks three yes or no questions.

  1. Could this solve your customer’s problem?
  2. Could this make financial sense?
  3. Do you believe in the idea?

If the answer to any of these questions is “no”, then find a different product idea to spend time and energy on.

PS - Need help sorting the good ideas from the bad?

Are you wanting to bring more innovation to your workplace? We did too, so we created a step-by-step framework that anyone on our team could use to change “possibly good ideas” into a solid product that has already been battle-tested and de-risked.

Get our free mini-course

PPS - This is the 3rd post in a series of the 10 problems all innovation teams face. [read the 4th thing innovation teams struggle with]

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