6 + 1 tips on ideation and business modelling
9 November 2018 - lausanne

Have a great business idea but don’t know what to do with it? Crystallize it with these tips that I learned in Circular Economy workshop, lead by Impact Hub’s Mickaël Mesbauer and José Silva.

1. If you do not know, where to start, keep it simple. Think about problems and solutions. Often the best ideas are born of everyday insights. Take an everyday object or situation and brainstorm possible solutions: for example a disposal coffee mug you grab every day on your way to work or a not-so-perfectly functioning public transportation app that always gives you bad advice. How would you improve them?

2. Put yourself to your customers’ shoes: imagine who are the users of this object, app or service? How would they use it? What works and what doesn’t? Try and be specific. Write things down – or if you have artistic talent, try and draw them.

3. Think negative. Concentrate on possible problems for a moment. What forces are working against you? What or who could cause trouble? What would be your worst case scenario? It can be losing customers, technical issues, product damage or anything else. Afterwards it’s brainstorming time: how to prevent all those horrible things from happening and how will you deal with them if they do happen.

4. When you brainstorm, be it for ideas or problems, stick to these principles: aim to quantity over quality (you can analyse later), no idea is stupid, use post-its to be able to move quickly. Take time to reflect every idea individually or share them in a group.

5. Get feedback. When you have enough material, ask for opinions. What do other people think? What kind of possibilities and problems to they see? Listen actively and take all the feedback seriously: you might be looking at your precious idea too closely, and others might see something you don’t. It’s easy to say “that’s true but…” or “this does not concern me, because…”. If you notice these thought popping up, turn them around and ask yourself “What could I learn from this feedback?”

6. Map the stakeholders. You can use help of this fourfold table. On the upper right corner, list stakeholders who both have power and are interested in your project. This is your core group that you need to engage closely. On the upper left corner you have stakeholders that need to be kept informed: they have power to help your project but might not have interest. How to gain their interest and engage them?

On the lower right corner are the stakeholders who are interested but have less power and on the lower left corner, stakeholders with neither interest nor power. Identifying the stakeholders help you to know, who is already on your side and who could be.

+ Circular Economy Tip: Try to make your business model circular and think about different circular economy business model types. Could your brilliant idea be a product-life extension or a sharing platform? Could you make a product a service, or could it have something to do with resource recovery or circular supplies? More tools for circular ideations and business modeling can be found here.

It’s not too late! If you have an amazing idea for a circular economy business, apply now to our Circular Economy Start-up Incubator. The application deadline is this Sunday.

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