Thought Rut.

For reasons I can’t get into, I’ve been struggling with the decision to pivot my business model over the past week. I’ve had three alternate product concepts in reserve just in case the situation developed and I needed to use them. But when the time came I found myself asking “What does this product do that’s unique and that my potential strategic partners can’t do for themselves?” What I had didn’t quite pass this test. The concepts I had were not strong enough to stand on their own because a potential partner could just throw tons of money at it to solve it. Typically when I’m in a situation like this I’ll do the 20 Answers exercise. Some progress but nothing ground shaking. Out came IDEO’s Method Cards. A few hints at things but again, nothing. I spoke with others that I’ve done product development with. Nothing. That’s actually not true, I helped someone with a new feature on one of their products. Tastes great but it’s less filling. Keep looking. Blanking out while looking around my office, I saw Creative Whack Pack cards on a shelf. These were handed out a couple of years ago at my previous role but I always considered them a little too elementary to actually work with. Well, time to suck it up and get back to fundamentals. Quickly flipping through the cards I dismissed every one of them. Until I hit on “Exaggerate.” That one passed the gut check for some reason. Exaggerate the idea – blow it way out of proportion. I took that and re-did the 20 Answers exercise. After about 90 minutes I had the answer. It was feasible, unique in the market, and has a workable revenue model. I’m back on track and that’s what I’m running with for DEMO Day.

When you find yourself in a thought rut and no new ideas are formulating – go back to the fundamentals. Look at things you dismissed before, look in places you thought were too easy, silly, or just dumb.  Go back to Crayons and paste if you have to.