Methods of Product Ideation

There are four kinds of product ideation that can be thought of along two axis, organic vs inorganic and bottom-up vs top-down.

bottom-up top-down
inorganic idea extraction idea safaris
organic scratch your own itch live in the future, build what’s missing

Idea extraction: observing and talking to other people to find problems.

Scratch your own itch: finding problems you personally have.

Idea safaris: starting with an industry, observe what happens at popular watering holes and look for patterns.

Live in the future: become the kind of person that has more interesting product ideas, get to the edge of a field that is going to be a big wave. Look for smart people and hard problems (they tend to be clustered) and join in.

Read the essay The Grand Unified Theory of Product Ideation.

The core thesis of Monetizing Innovation is that product failure is rooted in the failure to put the customer’s willingness to pay at the core of product design. Designing around the price—which measures value and priority—helps guide product design based on the customer. Companies often build the product and then do marketing and pricing, but that amounts to a leap of faith at best and a painful disconnect that leads to failure at worst.