Ideas, Products, and Opportunities
Ideas, products, and opportunities are all important to businesses. In this video, we will discuss these three concepts. Let’s talk about ideas first.
How do people create new product ideas? There are usually two ways. The first, is to create an idea to fill a need in a market. Here’s another way to think about this. Many times, an idea for a new product is an idea to solve a problem. Some people want to do or have something and this idea would help them. The smartphone was a new kind of product that did not exist before. People are now able to carry small computers in their hands and they could not do that before.
The second source or beginning of new products ideas is to bring something that already exists somewhere else. This is also filling a need, but in this case, the idea is not the product. The idea is getting a product to a different place.
It’s important to know that ideas are not the same as products. Sometimes ideas do not become products; sometimes they’re only ideas and nothing more. This can happen because the idea never becomes fully defined or clear. Maybe the entrepreneur has some understanding, but cannot clearly communicate it to others. Maybe the entrepreneur also could not understand it specifically.
Ideas also may not be possible to make into products because the technology or materials needed do not exist. Or there are other challenges such as lack of social acceptance. The idea is ahead of its time. Let me give you an example. When the U.S. decided to send Americans to the moon, it did not have the technology to do so. The idea was ahead of its time. What made it happen was the support and money from the U.S. government. Most entrepreneurs cannot find this support when they have the same challenge.
When can ideas be presented as products?
Ideas can be presented as products when they have a specific design. There are blueprints, or other design pictures that people can see and understand.
Ideas can also be presented as products when they have specific features and functions that people can understand. A feature is a noticeable or important part. A function is how something works. Let’s take shoes as an example. The size of the shoe and the amount of foot or leg that the shoe covers are example of features. Functions would be to protect the bottom of the foot, or keep it warm.
Additionally, ideas can be presented as products when they can be physically seen: a drawing, or a prototype. A prototype is a model, of what it would look like.
When an idea is presented as a product, it should be one of three types. The first is a good. This is something tangible, something that can be touched. Often, people will mistakenly say the word ‘product’ when they mean ‘good’. Examples of a good would be a book, a car, a shirt. The second type is a service. This is intangible. It cannot be touched, examples would be a taxi service, a medical procedure, a travel booking. The third is a hybrid product that combines a good and a service. Examples would be a bed and breakfast hotel, a restaurant meal, a flight. Both goods and services are provided in these types of products. Marshawn’s Drybath gel is also a hybrid because it’s a tangible product but provides a service that impacts society. It helps people stay clean without water.
Now, let’s talk briefly about opportunity. Opportunity is a chance to do something. If a new product has a chance to succeed, if people are interested in buying it, it is an opportunity. Whether an opportunity exists can be found by doing market research. This topic will be covered in more detail in Unit Two.
As I said at the beginning of this video, ideas and products are important to all businesses. Entrepreneurs and business people usually have many new product ideas. Some of these ideas become real designs or prototypes for new goods, services, or hybrid products. Entrepreneurs and businesses must do research to see which new product people want to buy. The products people want to buy are the opportunities. Remember, not all new product ideas are opportunities. Entrepreneurs must do a lot of work to understand which ideas can be products and which products are great opportunities. In this course, we will learn more about this process.
Before you watch the next lecture, continue to practice your reading skills with two articles about different startups. Each article is followed by a comprehension check. Game two will also help your understanding of different types of products.