Five innovative ways entrepreneurs generated ideas in 2015

There’s one thing that every successful business has in common – a great idea. Whether it’s a genius lightbulb moment or a slow burner worked up over time, entrepreneurs need to unearth those winning ideas in order to get ahead of the competition...

Throughout the course of this year we’ve been speaking with inventors, entrepreneurs, innovation gurus and thought leaders in order to grasp the most effective ways to generate ideas.

Here are five of our favourite tips for latching onto that golden idea you’ve been searching for.

1. The inventor

Yoshiro Nakamatsu, or Dr NakaMats as he is more widely known, is one of the world's leading inventors with over 3,500 patents to his name. He’s a man with not just a lust for new ideas, but a clear vision on how to develop them into fully functioning products. His three step creativity process, involving calm rooms, Beethoven’s Fifth and waterproof notepads is quite possibly the greatest ritual in the history of the ideation. 

"An idea comes instantly and disappears instantly. One thing I have learnt is that oxygen is the enemy of ideas, so to come up with the best ideas you need to get away from it," explains the Dr.

Read: Better ideas with Dr NakaMats

2. The millennial entrepreneur

The last 10 years has seen a wave of young entrepreneurs use new digital platforms to amplify their ideas and create huge followings. If you think you might have a winning idea, it’s never been easier to test it out and ask for feedback from the crowd. One of the best proponents of this has been entrepreneur, and SB.TV founder, Jamal Edwards MBE.

"I think the most important advice I can give is be patient, I think people think things happen overnight but it takes time. It's about staying dedicated to the idea, so don't be afraid to have a part time job to support the growth of your idea, that will help you know if how good your idea is too," notes Jamal.

Read: Developing ideas from an early age

3. The innovation guru

According to US innovation guru Mark Payne, the ideas failure rate is around 90 per cent, and as someone who has made a living out of helping organisations work out why their ideas have failed and how to make them work, he should know.

"Giving ideas tough love through some tough questions early on will help to ensure they can survive in the real world," explains Mark.

"If you don’t ask those tough questions, you end up with very little that is of any use. Brainstorming should be about focusing on a few concrete outcomes, rather than a lot of possibilities."

Read: Turning an idea into a money-spinner

4. The public

It’s not just leading entrepreneurs and academics who have advice to offer in the idea space, it’s a concept we’re all familiar with. As such, we decided to put some questions to the public. Where did they come up with their best ideas? What are the biggest barriers to overcome? And what stops people sharing their ideas?

In the shower, sat on the toilet, using public transport, browsing the internet or during an actual brainstorming session - where do you come up with your best ideas? Have a think and see how it compares to the answers in our exclusive research, which was carried out by YouGov.

Infographic: How ideas come to life

5. Richard Branson

Having started numerous Virgin companies over the past five decades, if there’s one person who knows a thing or two about picking out a winning idea, it’s Richard Branson. With new additions to the Virgin Group each year he’s clearly not lost his touch, so how does he ensure innovative new ideas are still prevalent inside an established brand?

"So many aspiring entrepreneurs are held back because they are waiting for a good idea to come to them. But in reality, there is no such thing as a bad idea. Any idea can be a great idea, if you think differently, dream big and commit to it," reflects the Virgin Group founder.

Read: Richard Branson on the power of ideas




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