You want to build the next big thing? The good news is that it’s not beyond your skills and capabilities if you truly believe you have something great to offer the world. The bad news is that most people don’t get to do it because they make the mistake of trying to solve a problem no one has.
Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact, and that is – everything around you that you call life, was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use. The minute that you understand that you can poke life and actually something will, you know if you push in, something will pop out the other side, that you can change it, you can mold it.–Steve Jobs
Paul Graham sums it all in this short quote about what to create.
The very best startup ideas tend to have three things in common: they’re something the founders themselves want, that they themselves can build, and that few others realize are worth doing. -Paul Graham
These are the 80 ways to find your next big idea.
1. Ask yourself how is the current product too complicated? What simple little thing could you do to just make it simpler.
2. Ask again-why it doesn’t work better and how to resolve the problem.
3. Don’t wait for a brilliant, paradigm-shifting, disruptive idea, find a real problem people have and solve it.
4. Look for market gaps in the trail of successful concepts. You will likely need fewer resources to launch a market gap plug.
5. What are the biggest challenges your colleagues at work face?
5. Go shopping for a few hours and listen to other shoppers talk about products, complain about processes, and just gab.
7. Look for problems that matches your skill set.
8. Find an industry or situation where the customer is getting frustrated on price and the customer experience is poor.
9. Think about combining two products into one.
10. What tasks take up the most time during your day?
11. Explore something completely foreign to you. The freedom from preconceptions will give you some unique insights.
12. Get people commenting and giving feedback feedback about every possible idea you have.
13. Look for problems not ideas.
14. Go to a startup weekend in your city or near you.
15. What inefficiencies do you notice in your daily routine work.
16. Ask yourself: what abilities do you care about or want to enhance?
17. Live in the future and build what people will need.
18. Look out for cues when reading books or when taking a walk, in the bus, on the train, subway etc.
19. A great start up idea is one you’ll be able to grow continuously. Think long-term.
20. Get your best friends together, complain about life problems, brainstorm solutions, talk it out, and write everything down.
21. Organize a Meetup or find a meetup to share ideas.
22. Many of the great businesses of the next decade will be about making information about our behaviors more visible.-Evan Williams
23. Don’t think about just one niche, stay open to ideas from all industries.
24. Think of something that everyone does with their friends and make it public.
25. Identify tasks that take time/waste your time.
26. Ask yourself what was impossible, or unnecessary a few years ago but with technology is possible today.
27. What activity do you dread the most in a given day?
28. Ask random people that you meet what the biggest annoyances in their lives and jobs are.
29. When you encounter a problem think through all the possible ways of resolving it.
30. Know about different disciplines, and have broad knowledge. Innovation often comes from crossbreeding different disciplines.
31. Ask yourself why it hasn’t been improved in the way you think would work.
32. What frustrates you most about a product, in that frustration is an idea.
33. Stay away from TechCrunch or Mashable and look outside the box
34. Put yourself in a new state of mind. Get out of your demography.
35. It’s hard to make a good product if it doesn’t solve a problem you are personally facing.
37. Maintain a sense of curiosity in the world around you, a mental flexibility to entertain odd possibilities
38. Being creative is a habit you get into, maintain that habit constantly.
39. Search yourself and look for problems you have yourself.
40. Don’t think up startup ideas. Notice them.
41. Ideas with no long term value generally fail. Look for what will still be relevant tomorrow.
42. Transform a situation where people are isolated or lonely by connecting them in a novel way.
43. Find an active forum. Make it easier for someone (or a group) to do something they’re talking about doing there, it could be your next startup
44. Make use of your favorite to-do app consistently and write down your ideas the instant they come to you.
45. Take a different route home.
46. Look for markets that are not sufficiently served.
47. Think about the most normal, expected solution to a problem would be, and then try to imagine the opposite.
48. When you see something that annoys you, think about how to solve it.
49. Talk about your ideas with friends. Get feedback. Tweak and repeat.
50. Be in-the-know about breaking trends.
51. Look at the most commonly searched phrases on Google trends.
52. Look through the customer service sections of websites and find out what people are complaining about.
53. Find product review forums and read about customer frustration about products.
54. Listen when other people complain. Gather it by listening when people tell you what’s ruining their day.
55. Bring an existing idea to a different platform.
56. Study your employer’s business process and build upon it. i.e. improve it.
57. Spend time reading about other companies and their customer pain points
58. Build something you need in your company, chances are others need it too. Think Yammer.
59. Copy business-model ideas from another country that have yet to be imported
60. Taking a trip to a totally different environment is always a great way to spot interesting ideas.
61. Try things: Experiment with everything. You’ll find things you like and things you don’t like.
62. Spend time with successful people in your network and talk about the same issues. Each will have a slightly different way of thinking about things.
63. Create a Twitter list. Add influential users whose ideas can inspire great ideas.
64. You can also go deeper by tracking registered patents. Innovative products are constantly being protected.
65. The key to problem spotting is to capture a long list of problems before you start considering possible solutions.
66. Take a service or approach applied to one market, and apply it to another. Cotap is the Whatsapp for business.
67. Take a task that seems tedious and currently requires humans and automate it.
69. Ask yourself if it’s a product you will personally use.
70. Take a single category out of the many offered by tech giants like eBay or Amazon and make it a simple niche business.
71. Pair up people who don’t normally work together and give them room for brainstorm.
72. The big guys leave a tremendous amount of opportunity on the table. Look for that niche.
73. Think about your skills and whether they might be useful in a new area.
74. Find a category lacking recent innovations. Identify markets that haven’t had many recent innovations.
75. Talk to buyers in a niche and consider sending an online survey to potential customers to learn about their needs and interests.
76. Look into how entrepreneurs are combining social networking with the growing interest in mobile apps.
77. Commit time to specific observation sessions where you stimulate your brain into thinking differently.
78. Surf the Web differently. Search for terms in other industries. Read on creative thinking.
79. Always be curious and never stop looking for answers.
80. Don’t do things better; do things differently.