Our brainstorming technique number 7 is a very fun one. It is also extremely simple to execute and is one of those techniques that can truly deliver you with extremely creative and out of the box ideas.
The principle behind this technique is that there are no new great ideas, only a combination of existing parts of ideas. This means that any product or service can be created by looking at the characteristics of existing products and services, and mixing and matching them in different combinations.
Let’s jump right into it.
How is it done?
This technique uses connections between different parameters to reveal a truly unique idea for a service or product. By listing down all parameters in your existing product or service, you can create a new product or service using different combinations.
Step #1: Define desired result or Challenge
As in all other techniques, the first thing we need to define our challenge or what our desired result is.
Let’s say that you run a gym and you want to implement a new service or product. You can take your existing data, and information that you already know and plot it out to show you new paths.
Step #2: Define parameters
Parameters are characteristics or categories that you can have options in. For example, for our weight-loss centre we divide our parameters to customer characteristic, fitness equipment, nutrition, products and centre characteristics.
You can choose any parameter that you find best. Once you have decided on your parameters list them in columns.
Step #3: List down the varieties of your parameters or characteristics
Now we will expand on each parameter. You can list as many varieties of each as possible. The more varieties you list, the more options and variations of combinations you can have later. You do not have to limit yourself to variations that you already use, you can add any variations that you imagine as long as they remotely fit within the parameter.
You are at liberty to make this list as exhaustive as you want, but you would be surprised at how many combinations you can come up with, even with just four or five variations of each parameter.
Step #4: Make new combinations
Now that you have variations listed on all your parameters, try to combine one or more variations. You can run through your idea box multiple times. You can choose more than one variation in each parameter, or as many as you like.
For example, maybe we can have a gym specifically for mothers who attend dance classes while we have a grocery shopping service for them based on their lists, and a day care to care for their children. Mothers would pay high prices for such a service, where their babies, bodies and grocery runs are taken care of. It would be a great service for otherwise busy and stressed new mothers.
Or we could go in a completely different direction and have a gym for working people, which offers fast workouts during their lunch breaks followed by scrumptious salads, and shower facilities and we charge them for the towels that they use.
We could go into further different directions. Let’s say we develop an app for disable people showing them how to work out at home with basic tools available to them. We can also create an area in the centre just for these workouts. This would a niche and noble service to provide.
With this very small list that we created, we can actually create a lot of different combinations. I’m sure you can think of a few ideas yourself. And we add a different parameter or even take one out, the results would again be very different.
Benefits of Idea box
So why is the idea box so great? Well, first of all, it can show you new ideas within your products or services that are already there. This would mean that implementing a new product or service would not be costly or labor intensive. The idea box simple allows you to disassemble your current undertaking and add new elements to it by combining each facet to create new service lines or products. It is truly magical to see it happen.
Too often we look for ideas outside when the answer can simply be lying within our very business or life. We are grabbing and panning these ideas from literally activities that are happening under our noses every day.
So, I do urge you to try this technique, even if you are not looking to introduce a new product or service. Just try it in your next group meeting or by yourself after work to see what wonderful concoctions lie in your very business. I must warn you though, that trying this technique would make you think and ask a question to yourself: “Why didn’t I think of this before?”