It may sound really obvious, but one of the biggest mistakes businesses make is constantly searching for the next idea without clearly knowing what it is they need that idea for. In the quest of hunting down the next brilliant idea, whether big or small, disruptive or incremental there lies immense danger in overlooking a simple fact.
What problem is the idea solving?
It's not hard to come up with ideas. People do it everyday. Sadly though the world is full of ideas that are looking for a problem to solve or an opportunity to capture. The world is full of ideas that simply aren't serving a purpose.
If you're looking for ways to grow your business and make it more profitable then simply chucking ideas around can be a huge waste of time and resources if those ideas aren't relevant or appropriate.
Am I saying ignore those brainwaves that strike when you least expect them? No I am not. If you happen to have a that one idea pop into your head that could change you business, awesome. It's does happen and usually because your brain has been primed to seek them.
What I am saying is that the temptation to chase every idea or vaguely brainstorm them becomes an exercise without meaning.
It may sound simplistic but it's vital. Find the problem first - find the ideas second. It's reverse engineering. Or in this case reverse thinking.
A better approach to just blue skying ideas is to get the team together and ask such questions as 'what problems have we got that if solved will improve our bottom line? or, 'in what areas can we improve productivity?' or 'where are we loosing out in sales?'
Once you have a clear answer to those types of questions, getting the team to brainstorm ideas becomes more productive and more profitable because the ideas generated will be specifically directed to solve a particular problem or cash in on a particular opportunity.
Remember. problem first, ideas second.
And here's a simple yet powerful question and it's one worth asking again and again. 'What problem are you solving?'