If only we had a crystal ball to see the future so we could know what the next great innovative product would be. Although there are no guarantees with fortune telling (at least in my experience), there are some ways to get a reliable peek at what might lie ahead. Use these clues and you may be able to anticipate the next great product idea.
In fact, the answer might be right in front of your eyes. Have a look at products in your everyday environment. Chances are there may be some great items around you to inspire the next phase of your product line. Knowing what’s already out there is the first step to uncovering ways to make things better. Analyze trends, thoroughly understand the competition, and look for game-changing opportunities. Anticipate what the next move should be, then determine how you can achieve it. Talk to early adapters of technology in your inner circle or place of employment. They are the folks who take it upon themselves to be the first to know what new and improved technologies are coming to market.
Think differently while walking through a retail environment. If your profession involves business products, don’t just walk down the aisle with products comparable to yours. Venture out. Wander into the toy department, the electronics area, the grocery center to gain a new type of inspiration. These are extremely competitive categories and can offer some out-of-the-box innovations that could spark an idea for you to implement in your product category.
Of course, there is also the everyday interaction with the World Wide Web, an infinite source of valuable and not-so-valuable information. There are numerous Internet resources you can reference to understand what can be applied to your product. Just search around and tap into the latest advances in technology. The results are amazing. You never know what you’ll uncover if you dive deep enough. Get into the habit of making regular visits to insightful websites so you can take advantage of the latest and greatest intelligence.
Another technique I highly recommend, and one that can be an extremely valuable, is brainstorming. If done effectively, this process yields a large variety of ideas from which you can pick and choose. Then you drill down and determine which ones are worth developing and pursuing. Inform your choices by anticipating what the next opportunities are. If you’re unfamiliar with a proven brainstorming technique, you might want to partner with a product design firm. These experts will tailor your efforts to fit what you’re trying to accomplish and assist in the idea gathering session.
Let’s not forget that the search for new ideas can lead to a need for protection of intellectual property through patents. Consider researching patents at an early stage of the project to learn if you have a patentable idea, and also to see if there is a similar patented product concept. You don’t want to dive into the work only to find you’ve infringed on an existing patent. If things get too complicated, you can always secure legal help to assist in the process.
It’s not easy to come up with a groundbreaking product. However, if you broaden your methods and observation horizons, you just might anticipate (and spearhead) the next great idea.