Innovative Ideas: Where to Find Them

Shaun H. Ruff


Innovative Ideas: Where to Find Them

An idea is the beginning of every startup journey. Startup Genome Project’s definition of discovery phase explains why it is the first phase of a startup’s development. This is the phase in which the solution to a problem is found and a solid problem statement is developed.

The purpose of today’s blog post is to show you how to formulate useful, scalable startup ideas efficiently.


Discoveries are made, not generated


One of the most important discoveries in history is that many inventions were made independently by two or more inventors (or groups of people) simultaneously. 148 inventions were found to have this feature in a study by Ogburn and Thomas in 1922.

The inventor of the light bulb led a legal battle against 23 other people for patent rights before Thomas Edison built prototype light bulbs. The calculus was also invented independently by Newton and Leibniz. In addition to the telescope, five people invented the telegraph, five people invented the steamboat, four people invented conservation of energy during the time of Ogburn and Thomas.

A fertile soil – a conducive environment – is what inspires ideas to grow in people’s heads. Similar conditions give rise to similar ideas, explaining the phenomenon of simultaneous invention.


finding a fertile environment (ideally a new technological field) and getting your hands dirty is the most important practical advice if you want to generate valuable ideas.

Ideas can be dangerous if they are generated in a vacuum. A few good ideas aren’t born out of it; it yields a bunch of bad ideas that are convincing enough to convince you to work on them.

Get involved in active communities instead of trying to come up with startup ideas. The discovery of worthwhile ideas can be discovered through communicating and creating there.


Rather than focusing on novelty, focus on utility


New things aren’t always valuable.

As per Wikipedia, “Innovation is the practical implementation of ideas that result in the introduction of new goods or services or improvement in offering goods or services.”

Business innovation does not always mean novelty, which is important to understand. Having something new and original on the supply side is essential but gaining traction on the demand side is also important.

Startups thrive on innovation – it is what makes them valuable. Innovating based on novel ideas is not innovation.




It is only when ideas are viable and valuable that they become innovative. It is important to validate your idea first because that is the most important thing you can do.

Talk to potential customers before committing to an idea, or even try preselling it. The best way to find the one idea worth your time, effort, and resources is to kill your less viable ideas before you’ve wasted much time and resources on them.

It is important to test all of your ideas against reality to discard the bad ones in order to come up with good startup ideas.


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