Last month’s Insights column (Where Ideas Come From) overviewed 16+ ideation techniques – in other words, idea generation tips to come up with your next million dollar idea. So now that you have the big idea, what’s next?
Similar to ideation, creativity can be seen as a step-by-step process. A 7-step creative process for transforming an idea into business concept was described by Raphael Diluzio in his 2012 TEDx presentation. Raphael, who passed away in 2019, was a serial creative artist, entrepreneur, and professor.
Follow this 7-step creative process to transform your idea into a problem-solving business concept that is ready to share with the world.
Step 1. Preparation
This step involves getting mentally prepared for creative thinking. Each individual approaches it differently. Common Preparation techniques include outside activities such as watching the sunrise at the beach or going for a peaceful walk in nature; centering activities such as stretching, meditation, or yoga; or calming activities such as drinking a hot cup of tea.
This step also involves knowing the problem that is being solved. Form a distinct question around the problem, write it down, and stay curious.
Step 2. Investigation
Investigation is expanding knowledge about the problem being solved or the idea generated during ideation. It requires online research, talking to others, and possibly visiting a business librarian at your public library. Investigation is knowledge expansion about the idea or problem to be solved for the customer.
Note: It is important to not get stuck in Investigation. Some people get “analysis paralysis.” Determine a timeframe for Investigation or define specific research questions to be answered, so you know when you have performed enough research.
Step 3. Transformation
In Transformation, information gathered during the research performed in Step 2 is sifted through. What is the same across the information gathered about the idea or problem? What is different? What did you learn that can influence your idea?
Step 4. Incubation
This is an important step. After you prepare yourself (Step 1) and investigate and transform your idea (Steps 2 and 3), it is time to Incubate. This is when you step away from the research and idea for at least a day and reflect on the information collected. Let your brain piece the information together naturally while you do and think about other things.
Step 5. Illumination
At some point during Incubation (Step 4), a solution or business idea may appear with great clarity. This is the “light bulb” or “Eureka!” moment that many people reference when they talk about how they thought of their business idea. You may have several “Eureka!” moments during Illumination – write them all down for inspiration later.
Step 6. Verification
Now that the “light bulb” moment has occurred, the Verification step validates that the idea is accurate and useful. This typically involves additional research to determine if idea is truly viable, initial target customer interviews, and completing a lean business canvas to determine that a business could be viable.
Step 7. Implementation
The final step involves transforming the idea into a product and/or a service to share your idea with the world. Implementation differentiates ideation from innovation. This is the step when you develop your minimum viable product (MVP) and start a customer feedback loop.
I hope that these Insights help to demystify the steps behind coming up with your next business. Value your ideas, evaluate them with these steps, and be fearless with sharing them with the world.
Entrepreneurs are uniquely qualified to capture and follow through with ideas. Our region has a wealth of entrepreneurs – so many of which that Wilmington’s entrepreneurial ecosystem recently ranked #1 in the nation for cities under 300,000. Let’s keep it going. Find inspiring moments in your personal and business life – and then ideate and innovate! UNCW Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) is here to help.
Emma Dill - Dec 4, 2023
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