Getting a ‘Eureka’ moment is one of the best feelings in the world, particularly when you suddenly come up with an amazing solution that will improve people’s lives. For example you may have come up with a novel approach to help Asthmatics to control their symptoms or to allow diabetes patients to manage their insulation levels. The idea phase is generally the most fun part of the product development so get creative!
Capture your Idea – Write it down
You could be in a restaurant or at home sitting on your sofa when an idea suddenly comes to mind. Serendipity is king, act on it. Now is the time to capture your idea using whatever means that’s most convenient; a paper napkin, the back of newspaper or your phone. It’s always a good idea to carry a notepad with you to capture these moments so that they don’t get lost.
Visualise your idea – Illustrate
Once you’ve captured your idea, start to visualise what it looks it like, how it will behave and how it will help people’s lives. This is the most fun part of the creation process so make sure you’re in an environment that encourages creativity.
Create a illustration that captures your idea. The patient in your illustration might look like a stick man but that’s fine as long as your illustration conveys your idea to others clearly and succinctly. Your illustration should capture the ‘What?’ and the ‘Why?’; what problem you’re trying to solve and why you’re trying to solve it (e.g. improve patients lives, does it save time, save money).
As soon as the first illustration is created, it’s normally a good idea to start getting feedback on your illustration from colleagues and close friends. Ideally you should get feedback from those who are unfamiliar with the problem area. Further down the road, you may be talking to stakeholders who are unfamiliar with your domain so it’s important that you can communicate your idea effectively using a simple illustration. As someone once said to me before, ‘If your granny can understand it, it’s good to go’. You may not think it now but the first illustration could be the foundations for what’s initially used to convey your idea on your product website.
You’ll have plenty of opportunities to validate your idea with domain experts later which we’ll address in a future article. It may hinder your creativity if you talk to domain experts at this stage of the process.
Articulate your idea – Pitch Perfect
At some stage, you’ll want to tell people how great idea your idea is. This form of articulation is commonly known as a ‘pitch’. Take the following recommendations into account when pitching your idea to an audience.
- Did they express confusion?
- Did they seem more interested in other conversations nearby?
- Did you get frustrated/tongue-tied explaining your idea?
If the answer to any of those questions is a ‘Yes’, it’s good news. If you’ve got feedback on your pitch, take any feedback onboard as a positive and revise your pitch.
Try to understand why the pitch did not work. For example, I’m from a technical background, so I commonly use technical jargon which can remove the emotional element of a pitch.
For example, the initial pitch for Zendra Health was as follows:
“Zendra Health allows healthcare professionals build digital health solutions in a few clicks and at a fraction of the cost.”
The only thing that is missing from the above pitch is an accompanied robot dance. It lacks an emotional element, uses vague terminology such as ‘digital health’ and it does not convey the problem that we’re trying to solve. Add an emotional narrative to your pitch, pull the heartstrings!
Now our pitch is as follows:
“Zendra Health’s aim is to improve people’s lives and accelerate research into chronic conditions through Connected Health.”
The updated version of our pitch focuses more on the emotional impact of ResearchHug’s aim. The pitch is not perfect, but it’s the best we can do for now. It took us about a year to get this version of a pitch, and it will continue to evolve through feedback.
You may be reluctant to tell others your idea. What happens if they steal you idea? Well, all ideas have a ‘secret sauce.’ If you’re concerned about it, just don’t tell them the recipes to your secret sauce. Feedback is really important as it forces your idea to evolve; you can’t get feedback if you don’t tell anyone your idea. Besides, anyone can have an idea; it’s all about executing the idea. An idea is worthless if you can’t execute it.
Next Steps – Market Research
Once you’ve refined your idea, it’s time to do some market research. Market Research can either inspire your idea further or crush it. For example, did you know that they are over 325,000 health apps out there at the moment, with 200 new health apps being released daily? Your idea may not be unique as you’ve first thought. Luckily, the vast majority of these health apps aren’t any good as they are not clinically validated.
In the next blog, I’ll be covering Market Research in further detail which will cover developing user journeys, competitor analysis, market regulation and cultural fit.