How to Have New Product Ideas
There are many techniques for coming up with new products.
One of the easiest ways is simply to think of ways to improve
existing products. How do you do this most effectively? As you
look at a product, generate new ideas with good questions, starting
What can be changed?
What can you change about a product to create a new one? Looking
at a book, for example, you might imagine it to be bigger, smaller,
longer or shorter. Quickly review what advantages there might
be to each of these changes, and you may find some good ideas
for a new product.
For example, "bigger" might make you think about
a coffee table book that IS the coffee table. Imagining them
smaller could lead to a line of books that truly fit easily in
your pocket. "Shorter" could give you the idea for
cheap short novels that make the reader want to buy the next
in the series (and the next and the next). If you get really
imaginative, you might think of making books that are waterproof,
for use in the pool or at the beach.
What is the biggest problem people have with this product?
This is a question that can generate great product-improvement
ideas. What is perfect out there? Almost every product has regular
and consistent complaints about it. Identify these, think of
ways to resolve them, and you've got your new ideas.
The most universal complaint is perhaps a high price. Almost
every product out there will have some people wishing it was
cheaper. Find a way to make it cheaper, or find a way to more
cheaply fulfill the needs or desires that the product serves,
and you have something worth creating.
It isn't all about price, of course. Computer programs, for
example. have a more common complaint. They are difficult to
learn to use. Think of a way to simplify them and you might have
a great new product. Dress shoes are typically uncomfortable.
How can they be made more comfortable? Shoveling snow is a lot
of work. Maybe you can come up with ideas to make it easier.
Problems are opportunities, aren't they?
How can each element be made better?
Asking this question is a very systematic way to generate
new product ideas. You just isolate every aspect of a product
and find a way (or ways) to improve it. Improve enough different
parts of a product, and you have something truly new and different.
For example, let's suppose you are looking at a backpacking
tent. You concentrate on each aspect of it for a few minutes,
to see what ideas come to mind. Fabric: more waterproof? Set
up: easier, faster? Price: cheaper, variable according to options?
Weight: lighter? Floor: tougher material, built-in sleeping pads?
Space: more room, different configuration? Think of a few good
ideas on how to improve even a few of these aspects, and you
might have a great new product.
Other questions you might ask include: How are similar products
better? What is the most important part of this product? What
could be changed to help sell this product to different markets?
What needs are served by this, and what other ways can those
needs be met? Ask enough of the right questions, and you'll get
plenty of ideas for new products.