Before the brainstorm: some resources to check out before your startup ideation session

Why it’s hard to come up with a successful startup idea these days

In a world full of possibilities, every startup hopes wants to be a smash hit. However, because people are always changing their needs and expectations, it has become even harder for a startup to become successful. Defining a problem statement isn’t going to be enough any more.

Technology’s rapid rate of improvement isn’t going to slow down any time soon, either. Our social relationships are also going to keep changing in response to technological training and, as a result, we as people will keep changing. While it’s up for debate as to whether all of this is a good or bad thing, that’s simply the way it is.

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How good startup ideas are linked to creative processes

If you’re trying to come up with a startup idea that responds to these changes in tech and society or that aims to solve the problems associated with them, you’ll need to adopt a creative mindset. Making an idea successful relies on a calculated combination of the right connections, the right education and the right inspiration. That’s where the creative process comes in.

Notice we said “inspiration” and not “luck”. The best ideas also tend to be the most practical and able to generate clear actions that can be taken to make them real. In Design Thinking, this approach to ideation is what designers often use to get to their final solution or design.

Where to get some inspiration for your startup ideas

It can be hard to find inspiring, engaging and relevant content on the internet these days. The sheer volume of information out there can (understandably) put you off investigating. Don’t worry, though. We’ve hand-picked a few of our favourite resources to help spark some fresh ideas in your startup ideation process.


Courier (Startup Content)

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Courier is a London-based media company that also produces a bi-monthly global print magazine. In the magazine, they give insights into the technology, disruption and culture of modern startups. The company also creates Courier Weekly, a Friday-morning email newsletter that talks about five modern businesses discovered.

www.couriermedia.co

Startup Grind (International Community)

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Startup grind was founded in 2010 in Mountain View, California, and is supported by Google for Entrepreneurs. It’s a global community designed to “educate, inspire, and connect entrepreneurs”. It’s international network hosts monthly events and annual conferences in more than 500 cities and 150 countries.

Although the events appear to be the main way people connect through Startup Grind, its website and social media pages are also home to some nice content about startup culture, from building one to scaling one and even how to handle the financial aspect of it.

www.startupgrind.com

‘How I Built This’ with Guy Raz (Podcast)

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Produced by NPR, this interview-format podcast explores the lives of well-known entrepreneurs and how they built their businesses. Guy Raz is the host; he also hosts another great NPR podcast, TED Radio Hour — which is a based around the highlights from some of the most popular TED talks with a sprinkling of good storytelling.

How I Built This dives deep into the stories behind some of the world's best known companies and most innovative startups. Episodes are also told with a story-like narrative and mixed with interviews with the founders. This is great if you’re in the phase of coming up with initial ideas for a startup, because it focuses on the early years and challenges that come from building a business from nothing.

Two episodes we’d recommend:

  1. The episode featuring Buzzfeed CEO Jonah Peretti

  2. The episode featuring WeWork co-founder Miguel McKelvey

(Both links include a transcript of the show, in case you’d prefer to read it!)

https://www.npr.org/podcasts/510313/how-i-built-this

TechCrunch

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You probably already know TechCrunch, given that it started documenting pretty much everything happening in the tech scene way back in 2005. If you’re looking for information on everything from fresh, baby startups to the ones that already have star status, this falls into the no-brainer category.

Aside from their startup profiles, gadget reviews and breaking tech news, probably TechCrunch’s biggest asset is their data; over the years, the company’s business information outfit Crunchbase has become of the most authoritative source of company milestones, trends and investment updates. The online information database is also user-generated, which makes Crunchbase more about community that companies.

www.techcrunch.com

Product Hunt

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Product Hunt is another community and online platform site where members can launch, review and vote on new tech products every day. It’s is also a place for creative people to share their work with other people, get feedback on it, and also build a relationship with people who share your ideas.

One of the things we like about it is that it’s basically a platform where you can do research about what users need and even test out if your idea solves their problems for FREE. And you can do it without even leaving your sofa! For example, when members review a product (this is done in the form of ratings called “upvotes”), they also have to add the Pros and Cons for the product. This gives you the ability to learn from your ideation and design mistakes and iterate them accordingly.

www.producthunt.com