How To Bring Innovative Product Ideas To Life
...an idea or product that deserves the label ‘creative’ arises from the synergy of many sources and not only from the mind of a single person… And a genuinely creative accomplishment is almost never the result of a sudden insight, a light-bulb flashing on in the dark, but comes after years of hard work.”
Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
New product ideas are alluring. It feels like you are discovering something that maybe no one else has even thought of before. First comes the epiphany. You might not even be thinking about what you’re doing in the moment when it first comes to you. Maybe you are absent-mindedly folding laundry, doing a mundane task at work, or driving home after a long day. You have a flash where a new product idea pops into your head that wasn’t there the moment before. A lot of ideas are like that of course. However, this one is different. It sticks for some reason and your mind begins to add detail and nuance. Your idea slowly starts to feel like something real, if only in your head for the time being. This is how innovation begins. Sadly this is where a lot of innovation ends as so many new product ideas only live in the heads of those who dream them up. Let’s examine some the common reasons many ideas never become real-world innovations.
The False Satisfaction of Daydreaming
The innovation you are currently mulling over in your head is, in your mind’s eye, a complete finished product. Yet, that idea is only really an idea and is far from the finished product you can see so clearly. There are thousands of steps between you and holding that new product innovation in your hands. Just getting over the initial inertia can feel overwhelming.
Chasing that dream will no doubt be a side project at first, something you sandwich between all your other responsibilities and spend just a little time on at the end of the day before going to bed. In those little moments it’s easy to push off the hard work needed to bring an idea to life. The initial idea in your head was exciting and inspiring. Burning the midnight oil to bring that idea to life is challenging and full of hard work. It’s so much easier to just spend your idle time daydreaming about it.
Science has shown that picturing accomplishing something in your head gives the body the same feelings associated with actually doing the thing pictured. That’s the secret to sports psychology and often the difference between star athletes and those that cannot perform under pressure. Picturing success. However, in this case, that little positive jolt your happy brain is giving you is working against you. It’s fooling you into deriving enjoyment from the idea even though you haven’t accomplished anything yet. It’s still just an idea. While a professional golfer is picturing making that difficult shot before he takes the swing, he does eventually take the swing to make it reality. Make sure you do the same.
Creator of Firebrand
Dan has been leading marketing initiatives for companies of all sizes for over 20 years. He had deep product experience spanning software, medical device, biologics, and more. Until just recently he had been living in the Bay Area advising innovative, high-growth startups on go to market strategies, brand development, product marketing, and demand generation. He currently lives with his wife in Seattle, Washington.
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