Let's Push for Opportunity Discovery

We have previously talked about the four elements of creativity in Idea Generation. But when it comes to Opportunity Discovery—the step before idea generation—many breakthroughs happen when you creatively explore the opportunity before you create the ideas.

From an early age, we are trained to look for quick answers and jump right to solutions before we thoroughly examine the real opportunity. According to Ideas To Go emeritus facilitator John Pfeil, “Several clients who have gone through our Creativity Training experienced the biggest ‘ah-has’ when it came to using creativity to challenge and shift their opportunity paradigm.”
To determine where the greatest opportunity lies, it is first helpful to understand that there are different levels of Opportunity:

  1. Given/Defined Opportunity: Even when we think we “know” an Opportunity we often are defining it from a limited perspective.  It can be extremely valuable to challenge our assumptions and again look at the opportunity from multiple perspectives to expand it, challenge it, stretch it, and then redefine it.
  2. Emerging/Vague Opportunity: Emerging Opportunities are often vague and in a loosely defined state. It likely needs to be explored and expanded to identify the sub-opportunities and bring clearer definition of the true Opportunity. 
  3. Undiscovered Opportunity: Being “really creative” often can mean taking the time to proactively hunt for Opportunities that have not yet been discovered. This is the level where creativity tools come in very handy.

And when it comes to discovering Opportunities—whether it’s well-defined or fairly nebulous—here are some of those key creativity tools: 

  • Identify all your assumptions. Then challenge them.
  • Be wishful so you can stretch and dream. Start sentences with “I wish” and “How might we…” to push further out.
  • Bring in the views of different functions: How do Marketing, Research, R&D, Sales, Production, Advertising Agency, etc., see the opportunity?
  • Dig into all angles of the Consumer/Customer perspective:  What they do and don’t do—and why? What problems do they perceive? What are their needs? What would they wish for? Etc.
  • Bring in outside views—experts, thought leaders, etc.
  • Explore emerging trends—adjacent markets, technology, distribution, unmet consumer needs.
  • Let the different players interact—share their perspective and wish together. Sometimes the biggest breakthrough come from one-on-one dialogues.

In the end, when you apply creativity at the beginning of the Opportunity stage, you can uncover all the divergent paths around the Opportunity that you may not have seen before—so you can capitalize on the one that's best for you.

Discover Your Next  Market Opportunity

This post was originally written by Facilitator Emeritus John Pfeil. Ideas To Go is an innovation agency that works with Fortune 500 companies in ideation and concept development to incorporate the voice of the consumer.

©2019 Ideas To Go, Inc. All rights reserved.

Ideas To Go

Ideas To Go is an innovation agency that leads start-ups to Fortune 500 companies through insights exploration, ideation, and idea and concept development while incorporating the voice of the consumer.