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The 1 Question That Inspires Innovation

Monday, August 29, 2011   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Rhette Baughman
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The 1 Question That Inspires Innovation
Mike Michalowicz
Author of The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur, Toilet Paper Entrepreneur

Author Napoleon Hill once said, "Ideas are the beginning points of all fortunes.” And he was right. Millions of people dream of entrepreneurship or having the next great product or service. The problem is they have no idea where to begin or how to find that next best idea. Rather than throw your hands in the air, start learning how to think like an innovator. You do want to be an innovator, don’t you?

Ideas matter

Do you want to invent new concepts, create new inventions, or think of unique ideas? No problem. Simply start asking yourself one question about everything you see: How could that be done better? Ask that and the ideas will come. Sure, they may not all be actionable, but a few will be excellent ones.

A few days ago as I was browsing at a fruit and vegetable stand. I noticed that they can only carry around seven items at any given time. These are the products that they grow. I asked myself, "How could that be done better?”

As the day went on, ideas popped into my mind, like starting a vegetable and fruit exchange for a monthly membership fee. There are many consumers who have gardens, including me, and grow a variety of items. But, what about just growing say, cilantro (my favorite herb)? If that were all I grew, I could grow quite a bit of it. There would be enough for dozens of families. Then, I could go to the produce stand, and for a recurring monthly fee, I could deliver my cilantro and exchange it for fruits and vegetables that other people bring.

Doing this would give me access to maybe 50 different fruits and vegetables, all fresh and locally grown, and there would just be a $25 minimal cost per month for contributing to the system. Maybe it’s not the best idea in the world, and yes, it needs a lot of refinement. But the point here is that this internal dialogue would have never come about without me asking that key question.

Repeating the process

This important question is one I ask all the time, and every so often, a great idea that has real potential springs up. This past winter I watched my daughter walk into the house in her winter boots, and it prompted me to ask the question. It sprung an idea that is so strong that a new product will be coming out this fall because of it.

You’ll have to wait for that surprise, but I am confident in the impact it will have. I am also quite
confident that it would have never happened if I didn't also ask this important question. And I am also confident it will also happen for you, if you start asking "How could that be done better?” You may just be surprised by the response that comes to mind. Great ideas are all around you, just waiting to be discovered. After all, one of your ideas could be the starting point of your fortunes.


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