Living Entrepreneurship Blog / Babson Entrepreneurs

Idea Generation and Innovation

What do you think of when someone says “innovation”? Many people think of product innovation, such as Apple, or process innovation, such as Dell. On October 15, the Butler Venture Accelerator held a lunch and learn session on idea generation and innovation.

Innovation is not the same as idea generation, it is a much longer business process. Innovation is the process of translation, from an idea or invention into a product or service that provides value to customers and that they are willing to pay for. Innovation involves idea generation, but also idea evaluation, prototyping and marketing evaluation, and launching ideas.

Here are some sources of innovation:

  • Solve points of pain
  • Analogs – replicating an idea from one context to another
  • Serving a niche
  • Intersection of technology and markets
  • Under-utilized technologies

Using a brainwriting technique, participants generated ideas from a particular problem and were able to refine and iterate until it was an opportunity that everyone was happy with. Many of the ideas stemmed from past experiences, and through this exercise, went through the process of innovation. If you have the itch to come up with a new opportunity, think about the sources of innovation, how your past experiences can help those around you, and get your peers to help refine that idea into a viable business.