To come up with a billion-dollar idea, say ideation experts Kevin P. Coyne and Shawn T. Coyne, you need to phrase the right questions in a “hard” way that forces thinkers to look for major departures from current practices, significant exceptions versus average consumer needs, and cost differences.
For example, don’t just ask, “What stops some people who like our product from buying it?”
Ask instead, “What group of potential customers is as large as our entire current customer base but isn’t buying our products for one particular reason?”
Consider eyeglasses. They aren’t available to the majority of the world’s population. Why? Cost.
In 2005, according to the World Bank, approximately 50% of the world’s population lived on less than $2 per day. Meanwhile, the cost of eyeglasses in the developing world was an unaffordable $40 to $60 per pair.
One small nonprofit company must have asked itself this billion-dollar question: “How can eyeglasses be made and distributed for less than one-tenth of their current cost?”
VisionSpring found ways to design and source the glasses on a small scale in the developing world for $4 per pair.
Billion-dollar opportunities exist. But be warned: Capturing them will require answering a very intense question.
— Adapted from Brainsteering, Kevin P. Coyne and Shawn T. Coyne.