How to Develop an Idea From Scratch
Everyone has got an idea, but not everyone is able to develop their idea. Some people have really wonderful ideas, but they are never able to develop them. Most people don’t know how, and a lot more people use the wrong methods to develop them. This is why it is important for you to learn how to develop your idea from scratch.
We get ideas about a new business, how we can make our lives better, businesses better, careers better, achieve great health, and the list goes on. The fact that you are getting ideas can mean a lot to you and in your life depending on how you see it. Every great establishment in this world started as an idea. When you understand how important ideas are, you will appreciate the need to learn how to develop them to achieve success.
“All worthwhile men have good thoughts, good ideas, and good intentions, but precious few of them ever translate those into actions”- John Hancock Field
What is An Idea?
An idea is a mental impression or a thought. An idea may come in several forms such as a thought or an imagination. It can come through interactions with others, and also through observation. The truth is an idea rarely comes by accident, usually it comes after thinking through on a matter or a subject to generate creative ways of going about it.
An idea evolves out of the creative ability. In other words, in order to generate tangible, workable, and relevant ideas, you must actively engage in robust mental activities.
Why are Ideas Important?
Ideas are the starting point of any great achievement or establishment, in other words it all begins with an idea. In your personal, academic, career, or social life, ideas are the bedrock of all your successes.
Ideas are usually generated in response to a challenge, and they usually serve as solutions. Every idea, supposing it is viable, has the potential to solve a problem and generate tremendous outcome which can set one on a life-long journey of solving problems.
People like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and John Maxwell are people who came up with ideas to solve problems or fill a gap. Those ideas became solutions and today those ideas are still providing solutions to people.
Ideas that solve problems are generated through creative thinking, sustained by nourishing and nurturing them, and developing them into reality successfully.
If you have any idea (whether a business idea or an idea about solving any problem) you have to develop it because it has the potential to address the need and eliminate a barrier.
A business idea when transformed into reality can lead you to establish a business that will employ thousands and deliver solutions to people. A career development idea could help you boost your career skills and make you great in your work place.
Ideas are important, ideas are relevant, ideas are necessary.
Let's say you have an idea to develop a tool to help new and aspiring freelance writers track and measure their progress over time. We are going to use the steps below to develop it. This will help you appreciate the need to develop your ideas much better.
Steps to Developing Ideas
- Write it down
The starting point of any successful idea is to write it down. When you write it down, you bring the idea from the thought realm to the physical realm. Writing an idea down gives it its first contact to the physical and material world.
There are so many ideas, thoughts, and imaginations running through our minds that when we fail to write ideas down as soon as we get them, we risk losing them forever. And sometimes this can be detrimental to our lives, career, health, and society.
Sometimes our ideas are the solutions to people’s dilemmas and problems, and when we fail to write them down, and we lose them we deny society from the benefit of the idea. Once it is written down, it loses the risk of being lost.
Writing it down also gives you a visual representation of the idea and that makes it more real and tangible to you. Once it’s on paper, you write all the problems it will solve, and represent it in various formats (diagrams, numbers, pictures, etc.) so that you can easily understand and work around it. Remember that you need to understand the idea yourself.
In our example above, consider the number of people who want to be freelance writers, this idea will definitely help them. Once it is written down, it loses the risk of being lost.You could a sketch an interface of how you want the tool or app to look like.
2. Determine its viability in relation to yourself
Once an idea has been written down, you have to determine if it is viable or not. Viable in the sense that does it have the potential to generate the answer you are looking for? For example, in attempting to find ways of generating extra income for yourself, there are a lot of options that you will come across.
You should be able to determine if the business idea you settle on is really something you can do, that is, do you have the skills required for it? If yes, then it is a viable idea, however, if it is the other way round then you have to either seek someone to collaborate with or sell the idea to someone, or think of something else.
Now, this doesn’t mean the idea itself is not viable, it is viable but in relation to your skills or preferences, it is not viable for you.
Some markers of a good idea are whether it has produced similar results in the past, and if it is a new idea, is there a way to develop it?Is it realistic or achievable or it is simply a fantasy? Do you have the capacity or resources to enable you achieve it?
This stage will also help you to determine what you will need to achieve that idea or make the idea come to pass.
In the example we are working with, you have to ask yourself, can you develop the software? If yes, then you can go ahead, however, if no, then you have to look for competent software developers that you can partner with.
3. Search for information about the idea
In this stage, all the information regarding the idea is consciously searched for through any available means. You read books, articles, journals, and everything you can find about it. This helps you generate as much information as you can about it.
At this step, you can read about similar people who had similar ideas and how they went about it. Through learning, you are able to know the challenges that are likely to surface while developing the idea and this makes you more prepared for them.
As you read and learn more, you identify the strengths and weaknesses of the idea, and look for models and strategies that have worked in the past and will work for your idea. At this stage also, you need to be very critical and siphon information in a way that will not discourage you. Also do a thorough search for all the places and industries where the idea is applied.
Sometimes, especially for business ideas, when reading about other people’s successes, it may seem like for you the success they are all talking about is out of reach, but that is the time for your character as an entrepreneur to be tested. You may come across a thousand reasons why the idea won’t work, some from friends and family, but it is your resilience that will take you through.
At this stage too, you identify key people in relation to the idea that can help you achieve it. Here you contact the people you have identified who can help you develop your tool or app. You read information about other tools that exists, identify their flaws and weaknesses and make yours better. You read about ways to promote the software and get it to the right people, you make a rough budget of how much those things will cost.
This also makes you aware of possible places to reference about your idea, and in the future you can always know where to turn to.
4. Be specific about the idea
Usually, ideas are general and because of that they can be applied to different areas and industries. After reading and gathering all the information you can about the idea, you need to be specific about what you really want to do.
For example, if you get an idea about starting a blog, after reading about it, you have to identify the specific topic to blog about. This will help you be more specific and the solution to the problem will be able to reach the right people.
Referencing our previous example, over here you have to know specifically who your target audience is. Are they people with blogs or not? People with knowledge in IT? This will help you in the design of the blog to meet the needs of those people.
“All my life, I always wanted to be somebody, now I see that I should have been more specific”- Jane Wagner
5. Identify all the stakeholders and resources
At this stage, you need to know who and where you are going to get your help from. This is first achieved by sorting through the information you read, and consciously learning and analyzing them to identify what you will need to establish that idea. What resources will you need? How much resources will you need? Who will help you do it?
You have to be more specific about the information you got from the idea. For example, if your idea is to develop a career skill, you might have come across several places to learn skills development, but now you need to choose one that will work for you.
There are several factors you need to consider at this stage, including availability, cost, quality, effectiveness, and whether it meets the demands of your idea. As a start, especially for a business, you might want to get resources that are cheaper and still meet all your needs.
At this stage in the development of your freelance tool for new writers, you have to specifically decide which of the software developers you are going to work with. You must decide the promotion option, whether through Paid advertising or social media advertising, or both. You have to narrow everything down.
6. Set goals, targets, and objectives
Before you put the idea into reality, you need to set goals that are smart (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound). This will help you track your results and measure your progress with time.
Setting a goal will help you remain focused. There are a lot of distractions that you will encounter and the best way to overcome them is to keep the goal in perspective. Have your eyes fixed on the end result and brace yourself up for the process.
This will also help you identify what you are doing right and what you are doing wrong with time. Let's say for your software,your short-term goal will be to have 3k downloads after three months, help at 300 of them develop their writing and get clients.
It is important for you to be your best motivation. Most ideas rarely see success at the beginning, but you have to persevere and move on in spite of the challenges. This is what will build your character and make you successful.
7. Go for it
Now, put your idea into reality, develop your software, start your blog, take the course. Whatever you planned to do, just do it. Don’t think too much on it, if not you might lose interest. Just go ahead and do it. Don’t say you are waiting for another time, the best time is usually today.
Don’t feel you need to feel ready, because you might never feel ready. No one is ever ready, and you will never feel ready. Go ahead and make your idea tangible and provide solutions to problems around you. I learnt something from Carly Fiorina, that those closest to the problem are the best to solve it. Whatever problem that you have an idea or a solution to, go ahead and make the change.
A lot of ideas never materialize, they never become tangible because people never move in spite of their fears to provide solution. Courage is moving ahead even when it is scary and the road is wavy. Use your creative abilities and solve problems around you today.
“A person is rewarded for his accomplishment, not his intentions”- Robb Thompson
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 Mercy Berchie