Different Ways to Discover Great Product or Start-Up Ideas

Different Ways to Discover Great Product or Start-Up Ideas

This table is from Week 2 material of our Tekedia Mini-MBA program. It helps you to understand how great products (for project champions in existing firms) or startup ideas (founders in new ones) can emerge.

Table 3.1: Different Ways to Discover Great Product or Start-Up Ideas

Way Example What Happened
Develop Capabilities Hotmail The founders sought a way to communicate while at work, for a side hustle, avoiding detection from company systems and in the process developed a native web-based email, un-tethered to an ISP (internet service provider). They had the technical skills, and working to overcome a barrier (a friction) ended up starting a company.
Daily Life Observation Airbnb Airbnb founders saw scarcity of hotel rooms in their city during a major event, giving people opportunity to book a space in their apartment via the web. While many people have possibly done that (renting home space), the founders saw it as a huge business opportunity, and went on to scale it.
Awareness of Future Trends Tesla The future has to be lived and building for that future is an opportunity. Elon Musk saw that the future would come and embarked on creating Tesla for the eventual shift to non-fossil fuel vehicle future. Opportunities exist for AI, AR/VR, drones, etc in the near and far future. (We will be discussing the business of these technologies in Week 4.)
Discover Inefficiencies Uber, Interswitch There are inefficiencies everywhere, from traffic congestion, to outdated business practices. One can go to fix them. Uber simplified intra-city trip experiences for commuters. Interswitch founder noticed payment inefficiencies and pioneered electronic payment in Nigeria.
Enable Disintermediation Kayak, Wakanow Kayak and Wakanow help you to cut out brokers or middlemen when booking flights or hotels. Whenever you see the presence of many middlemen, there is an opportunity to improve customer experience and save people money.
Copy Elegantly Apple Apple has rarely pioneered any category it has dominated. Before iPhone, there was Blackberry. Before iPod, there was Walkman. And Pebble made way for Apple Watch. But Apple has ruled whenever it comes into a category; copy elegantly and legally as I noted in this Harvard Business Review article[1].
Monetize Your Passion Pinterest The founders of Pinterest have deep heritage and interests on collecting things (i.e. collectors). Building the business was an extension of that passion – yes, digitizing collection. As they say, blessed is the man or woman whose passion is his job. You can make yours that!


[1] HBR- https://hbr.org/2012/05/when-you-cant-innovate-copy

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