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There are many ways of defining it, but the key is context. According to Investopedia ideation is the process of creating and communicating prescriptive information to others, usually in a business setting. It is the process of bringing together ideas from their initial conception to their implementation. It is open to anyone within an organization and can be drawn from any medium or activity that allows ideas to be exchanged. This is the broad definition.
This means that startups must identify big problems that can be disrupted and this is often separate from the go to market strategy. It involves a process that leads to the creation of innovative, dynamic, and impactful businesses.
These are the basic building blocks of the ideation process.
Selecting the right partner
Serial entrepreneurs are well aware that the ideation stage of a startup is not all theoretical. It is only the beginning of creating an idea. This idea must be developed through market research, competitive analysis, innovative thinking, and dynamic business modeling.
The ideation process can be made more efficient by having a mix of different experiences and tacit knowledge. Advisors, mentors, and potential co-founders should have experience in different industries as well as unique skills that complement yours. These differences are great, but it is also important to be aligned across many fronts. These include core values such as work-life balance and how you manage your team. It is important to align expectations regarding the above and your exit plan. It is impossible to agree on all aspects of these issues, but it is possible to come to an agreement.
To get a better idea of how you would all work together, it would be a good idea for potential co-founders to do some exercises. You can't really know someone unless you have lived with them. You can test this by giving real, achievable business tasks. These tasks should have a goal, an end and a beginning.
A founder should also feel that the technology and product they want to launch are compatible.
Similar: Are You Looking For A Business Idea For Your Business? Get started with your purpose
It is important to seek out validation from industry experts and people who are likely to be part of the future target audience. It is important to treat positive feedback with caution. It is possible that compliments given by people are not genuine compliments. When positive feedback is followed up with introductions to potential partners, advisors partners and investors, authentic positive feedback can be identified. It is obvious that colleagues won't waste their time if they don't believe in the pitch and concept.
A scan of financial statements from listed companies (public) is a great way to gain insight into market trends and to find out what the market is doing. These valuable insights are yours.
Related: Is the CEO more important than the idea?
Understanding that demand does not always equal need
It is important to have a clear understanding of your product's need during the validation phase. Investors and potential clients will see a huge difference between demand and need. While a need does not necessarily have to be prioritized with a budget in order to meet demand, it does.
It is important to understand where your idea falls on the spectrum between need and demand. However, it is also beneficial to answer the question, "Why now?" This will be a great place to start if you have a good understanding of micro and macro trends.
The key to a successful ideation phase is the same as other aspects of running a business. Passion, dedication, and the willingness to adapt are the keys to retaining a competitive edge.
Related: Venture Studio: From Idea to Company