The constant search for Good Ideas has resulted in many techniques for generating them. Part 1 of Good Ideas will briefly discuss Franklin's (2003) research into the types of ideas that are most likely to succeed.
The research investigated the types of ideas that had been most successful in the past. Six types were defined:
a) Need spotting ? where individuals would actively look for a need and attempt to resolve it.
b) Solution spotting ? where a technique was already known and the individual went out searching for a problem to apply it to (e.g. laser technology was applied to music, resulting in CD's and DVD's).
c) Market research ? ideas generated as a result of needs establishing through market research.
d) Random event ? moments of serendipity when people stumble across answers they weren't looking for.
e) Mental invention ? pure random ideas with no previous knowledge of how they may be implemented. An approximate example is Einstein's E=mc squared.
f) Trend following ? ideas that resulted from following the crowd.
Of all of the above, a random event generated the highest success rate and lowest failure rate.
Solution spotting ? that is, having existing knowledge and seeking problems to apply it to ? scored an 87.5% success rate and a 12.5 % failure rate.
The conclusions are, in fact, open to interpretation. It is possible to increase the probability of random events occurring but it seems the most manageable and tangible process of coming up with successful ideas (according to this theory alone) is to use established knowledge and competencies and seek out domains where it can be applied.
This topic is covered in depth in the MBA dissertation on Managing Creativity & Innovation, which can be purchased (along with a Creativity and Innovation DIY Audit, Good Idea Generator Software and Power Point Presentation) from http://www.managing-creativity.com. You can also receive a regular, free newsletter by entering your email address at this site.
Kal Bishop, MBA
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Kal Bishop is a management consultant based in London, UK. He has consulted in the visual media and software industries and for clients such as Toshiba and Transport for London. He has led Improv, creativity and innovation workshops, exhibited artwork in San Francisco, Los Angeles and London and written a number of screenplays. He is a passionate traveller. He can be reached on http://www.managing-creativity.com.