Seek new product ideas from your employees and business associates. Let your employees know that you are on the lookout for ways to expand the company”s product offerings. Depending upon the industry and the nature of your company”s offerings, you could even allow full-time employees to devote a percentage of their working hours to internal projects of their own design. Such “creativity time” served as the genesis of several Google innovations, including Google Person Finder, which has been used to help people locate loved ones in the wake of a natural disaster.
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Solicit product ideas from a group of people vital to making your company a success–your customers. Getting new product ideas from customers can be as low-tech and low-guidance as a “new product suggestion box” placed on the reception desk or as high-tech and focused as a splashy multimedia campaign encouraging your company”s customers and fans to submit a video about their idea for the chance to win a prize.
Open your eyes to your everyday surroundings for a source of inspiration for your next new product idea. Take notes about little problems and frustrations you encounter in the course of day-to-day tasks like working in the office, running errands and caring for your family. Ask yourself whether you could solve one of those little problems with a new product. The problem doesn”t have to be a world-scale one in order for a product solution to be a success–it just has to be a fairly common problem.
Get a new perspective on existing products–and potentially walk away with a new product idea or two–by examining them while pondering the question of how they could be different or better. For example, if your company produces a successful product line, brainstorm ways in which that line could be expanded with a deluxe offering (perhaps a larger size or a “premium” flavor) or a novel approach (such as an exotic flavor or an easier form of preparation).