I want to focus my idea
Once you know what idea, product or service you want to work on, the next step is to target it and get input from the outside world.
In this case the outside world might mean customers and other stakeholders, such as patient associations, a local ornithologist or consumer organisations.
You could be overtaken by reality
If you do not involve these groups, there is a risk of working on an idea that does not meet customers' needs, perhaps because technological advances make the idea redundant or because consumers' habits have changed.
There is no single correct way of doing this, but the following questions should be included in your deliberations:
- Is the idea financially viable?
- What goals do you want to achieve beyond purely commercial ones?
- How will you measure whether you are achieving your goals?
These three questions are examined further below:
Is the idea financially viable?
Produce a sober initial evaluation of whether you can make money from the idea, ideally with the help of a business incubator or similar.
What social and environmental goals do we want to achieve?
It is a good idea to set out clearly what social or environmental goals your company wants to achieve. These goals should be as specific as possible – for example, replacing plastic fibres with natural fibres in 25% of your products within the next four years.
You can also focus your efforts on one or two general goals and draw inspiration from some of the challenges set out in the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals.
How do we measure whether we are achieving our goals?
It is important to have goals that are both rooted in global developments (how many households do we want to provide clean water for?) and measurable at company level (how many tons of carbon dioxide have we saved?).
Key questions when targeting your idea:
- What will it cost to bring the idea to market?
- How large is the potential market?
- How big a share of this market can you win?
- What are your potential earnings?
- Do your potential earnings exceed the investment required?
- Can the idea meet your social and environmental goals?