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February 22, 2011 / innovationinitiator

I have an Idea!

Operating a pistol-grip drill - scheme.

Image via Wikipedia

Yes, we all have our eureka moments. I’m not talking about random ideas that keep popping up in our heads through out the day but a nagging idea or dream that has persisted.

The key to kick starting your business is knowing what is your Trigger Point. In my last post we talked about various Events and now we will focus on the first possible event.

The Idea Event™

Let me try and use a personal example of what an idea event could be.

Over the last many years my family and I have collected/acquired many different gadgets, gizmo’s & products that are used only for a few days (collectively) in the year. A quick sample would include digital cameras, mobile phones, electric drill, vacuum cleaner, laptops, tablet computers, dvd player, wifi routers, cable modems, dvd’s, bicycles, roller blades, badminton racquets, treadmill, multi-gym, scooter, air-soft rifle, paintball kit, etc. As you can imagine that’s a whole lot of new stuff for a family and no matter what we do, we can’t use any of these products for more than 15% of their prescribed lives.

While I do suffer from a healthy dose of buyers remorse every time we (usually I) spend this money, I would constantly be looking at maximizing the usage of each product we bought. Unfortunately there are only so many holes you can drill in your house and the electric drill would sit safely in its box for another year.

The idea that kept nagging at me was the concept of renting out these products to someone who needs to use it that one time they most need it. Imagine an online platform where you could go and rent an air-soft rifle (plus pellets) for as low as Rs. 50/- a day. Or the scooter for the weekend for Rs. 500/-. The products I’ve collected are suddenly being used more than I would by myself and they are making me money!

Great idea right? Well, I thought so too. And I thought of creating this brilliant online platform that would let people from around Bangalore connect online and share all the things that they don’t use and create a new economy for product reuse & in facilitating this all, I will make lots and lots of money.

Well, why did’t I act on it? While I believed in the idea I was looking for external triggers to validate the same. I needed data points to prove to myself that people will be willing to share their products for a short time, with strangers. There needs to be enough members in the community and geographically spread, for it to make sense. And I also had legitimate questions about payment mode and shipping etc. All said and done I kept procrastinating on the idea till one fine day I came across Rachel Botsman’s talk at TED on collaborative consumption.

Bam! There is my idea, in flesh (well, not really flesh but articulated) being demonstrated by someone else! Obviously I wasn’t the first one to think of collaborative consumption. And I definitely wasnt the one who acter on the idea. Here was Rachel talking about organizations like,,, and many, many others who have gone out and executed on my idea (even before I thought of it).

U.S. Patent by Thomas Edison for an improved e...

Image via Wikipedia

The long and short of it is that each of us usually have some gems that we keep mulling over. There are usually pretty solid triggers that we have nurtured based on a unique insight that is clear to us but likely to be felt by many many others.

This idea, the unique insight that you have, could be your Idea Trigger. Don’t shelve it. Use it to get you to the next step.

Qualify your idea through the following steps –

  • Articulate your idea into a definite value proposition. Why is it unique? What’s its purpose? What does your idea do that other products/services don’t do? Is it your need or is it something others perceive too?
  • Identify your consumer – Who is your target audience? Don’t worry if its only you because in a world of 6 billion, there are bound to be atleast a million people who are in the same situation as you. Think about how you’ll get to them. Do also note that I’m differentiating between the customer and the consumer. The customer could be the parent but the consumer could be the 3 year old child.
  • Measure the impact –  Try and quantify the impact on the consumer, impact on you, impact on the ecosystem within which your idea will exist. For eg. if you have thought of a new form of delivering medicines to patients, medical care would be the ecosystem you are impacting.
  • What do you need to get started? Don’t worry about money. To start a business money is not the problem, the right attitude, passion and team are more critical than money. Who can you enroll into your idea so that you can reach stage 1? What is stage 1?
  • The time line – This is the easiest and sometimes the most difficult. The timeline is not for making your first million but a defined date by when you want to launch your product/service/idea!

If you are sitting on an idea and wondering what to do next, use this post to get started.

As usual, your comments in the comments section below and if you’d like to reach out to me privately, do so.

Do watch Rachel’s session here.



Leave a Comment
  1. Geeta Vaidyanathan / Feb 22 2011 9:27 pm

    Good one. There is something like this in Koramangala Bangalore. A girl runs a business of renting “designer hand bags” to customers / professionals / socialites etc.

  2. Venessa Miemis / Feb 22 2011 9:42 pm

    thanks for linking to my post. a version of the platform you describe exists, it’s called zilok –

    – v

  3. innovationinitiator / Feb 22 2011 9:49 pm

    Thanks Venessa. Zilok’s existence reinforces my problem of staying ahead in the idea to implementation curve.

    Your post has a very interesting synopsis of collaborative consumption & I thought it would help my guests get a quick update on the model.

  4. Building Guru / Feb 22 2011 10:32 pm

    Yes, you need to read “The Mesh” by Lisa Ganske (not sure I spelled that right). Fantastic resource for this kind of buisiness. In a time of disposable everything, we could all use a little sharing!

  5. rubina guleria / Feb 23 2011 9:33 am

    act act act act…..thats the bottom line. Rightly written.

  6. Sujit Sumitran / Mar 2 2011 5:27 am

    Dang. I wouldn’t have invested in the Electric Drill had I known that I could rent it for next to nothing. So when are we seeing the site up? Could it start as a community-based one so that you aren’t dealing with complete strangers?


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