Explore sources to generate great product idea.
Generating a new product idea is no easy task. Even with widely available prioritization tools and applications it is not easy to select a perfect product idea that fits every user requirement. In this article we will discuss where product idea originate.
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The power of subconscious mind:
One of the main ways I come up with product idea is while simply doing nothing but perceiving the world as it is. Many people have talked about this, including Steve jobs. Call this Zen, mindfulness or whatever you want. I have had many ideas pop up in my mind while just observing the world as it is without judgement. While travelling, talking with random people, eating chocolate chip cookies, driving home on autopilot, arguing with a colleague or friend.
There are infinitely complex problems that need solution. I am sure many of you have had some amazing ideas while performing mundane activities. But I am also sure many of you just let them pass and forget them. One of the most important things I do when a light bulb moment occurs is that I jot it down on my personal memo or notepad.
Practice this and you will notice that you have many rudimentary ideas that you can improve later. Try convincing other product managers and engineers in your team to follow the same and you will have hundreds within weeks.
Talk to your team and your customers:
Talk to internal and external customers. Observe how they use existing products and note down existing pain points. And desired functionality. This acts as a base for building better features in upcoming versions or solve an entirely new problem with a new product.
Society consists of different population, age groups and cultures. Each provide untapped markets and opportunities. Each age group and culture has a different set of problems that they face every day. Trying to optimize a product or reverse engineering an existing product in order to cater to greater audience within the subset of the population.
Black swan events:
The black swan theory or theory of black swan events is a metaphor that describes an event that is a surprise (to the observer), has a major impact, and after the fact is often inappropriately rationalized with the benefit of hindsight. Many companies have taken advantage of the aftermath of such an event.
Black swan events trigger winners and losers. For example, in the case of the recent swine flu outbreak, there were a number of beneficiaries. As Jacqueline Berry, spokeswoman for 3M (who make face masks), claimed. Similarly, Roche, maker of Tamiflu, have seen a huge increase in demand for its flu drug.
Example is introduction of smart phones. I phone’s introduction resulted in App development market for smart phones and opened a whole new market for products and jobs. Sometimes, as new technologies emerge, they make existing solutions obsolete. The introduction of the smartphone integrated several electronic devices. The digital camera, portable MP3 player, and personal digital assistant markets either disappeared or shrank considerably.
Look for process inefficiencies:
Look for repetitive, difficult, time-consuming tasks you that can be done effectively. And use automation if possible. AI, machine learning and automation is the frontier for new products.
An example of leveraging trends and eliminating process inefficiencies is Uber, Uber leveraged three trends: smart phones, geo location, and a sharing economy to create a new type of taxi business.
Let your team play:
One of the common mistakes many product managers make is to not involve the team during decision making and discussing ideas. Engineers and designers know what design works. What costs are involved and they can help make important decisions that involve costs and design constraints.