Great pitches start with great ideas. As part of the process here at Camp Inc. we spend a considerable amount of time nurturing a creative environment to develop successful business ideas. This process includes a number of exercises designed to tackle big picture problems that are critical to today’s society.
Campers brainstorm solutions to problems such as climate change, water shortages, energy generation social inequality and public health. The camper’s solutions are often innovative, achievable and scalable. Campers learn to take a problem which may be overwhelming in scale and focus on a solution at a local or regional level that could have a significant positive impact.
The next step in the ideation process is to foster that creativity in a broader sense. The focus is not necessarily on a product or service, but on a solution to a problem. What issues cause frustration in our daily lives? What needs are not being met? Are there existing solutions? Are there opportunities to provide solutions for these needs and wants that are not being met?
Often the ideation process leans itself toward product based solutions, but often the best ideas come from service based ideas. Think Uber, AirBnB and PayPal. As part of the brainstorming process campers usually generate a long list of product based ideas. At some point I like to shift the focus to service base industries and have the campers brainstorm ideas around wants and needs that affect their everyday lives. The results are often remarkable.
We research these products and service based ideas to see if there are existing solutions that would be hard to compete against, if there are barriers to market entry that may be prohibitive, and if there are is a significant market to justify commercial viability.
Typically starting with 12 to 15 ideas we progressively whittle down the list to the strongest four or five contenders. The campers discuss the merits or otherwise of each idea, as well as their own personal passions and how they might be aligned with a particular idea or solution. In order for campers to focus on the issues and solutions that they are most passionate about as a team several exciting and commercially viable ideas are often cut from the list.
As they say, the cream rises to the top. This session’s ideation process has been extensive, exhaustive, and by all means very creative. The ideas that have come forward from this process have been innovative and have great potential. I look forward to seeing these ideas develop over the next two weeks. Look out pitch day; I think we could have some real innovators on our hands.
David Poussard is a resident of Steamboat Springs. He has a Masters in Entrepreneurship and has been involved with a number of successful companies over the past few years. He recently launched an internet radio station.