Entrepreneurship – from ideas to reality
Entrepreneurship – from ideas to reality

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Entrepreneurship – from ideas to reality

4.1 Ideas all around us

Dyson’s source of inspiration, or perhaps his frustration, turned into an opportunity. If others felt as he did about those poor experiences then surely there was an opportunity. Sometimes new or better solutions can come from:

  • simplifying what is there
  • adding to what is there
  • emphasising different attributes
  • making something available in one place that otherwise customers would have to seek in many different places.

In other words, ideas are borne from context – they are not fixed. As a word of caution though, although you may perceive things in one way and can see a new approach, this does not necessarily mean others will share your vison, or view your idea as better. It is likely that changes and adaptation will happen. Sometimes this comes as a result of your own internal view changing, sometimes the context, or even the way you perceive it. Testing your ideas against others is important, as the Dyson example, which took many prototypes before getting it right, illustrates.

Now complete Activity 3 where you will hear more from our entrepreneurs and see whether their original ideas have changed over time.

Activity 3 How ideas change over time

Timing: Allow about 5 minutes

Watch Video 4 below. As you listen to the entrepreneurs, think about what reasons, if any, they gave for changing course.

Download this video clip.Video player: Video 4
Skip transcript: Video 4 Changing ideas

Transcript: Video 4 Changing ideas

We didn't know what we were going to have to begin with. The idea was we had some designs. We knew that people liked them. And we were being asked to produce more and more of them.
Just briefly, the way it works is that my wife asked people for four or five things that they really love, and then she creates a picture out of those things. She finds some references to their lives and creates a story with them on the design. Because we knew people liked them, we thought we would just see if any anyone else would like them.
At that stage, we really had an identity crisis. We didn't know exactly what our business was. We didn't know how it was going to develop. And I know there's lots and lots of stuff we learned from the Open University about plan and understand your market and things like this.
But we thought we would just try. We would just take them somewhere, to a market, and see what would happen. And lots of people guided us towards silk scarves with their suggestions. So that's where we went next.
The original concept is pretty much the same, because the whole concept is about actually creating a support mechanism for aviation maintenance personnel, such as myself. But how the plan has come around has changed dramatically. Because it was just a concept. I just knew I wanted. I didn't know how to execute. I didn't have a business plan. I didn't actually have anything like that. So the Open University, the MBA programme, actually really helped push that level.
: I would say it's evolved. Because as I say, it started off as a mentoring and coaching service with the offer of group work if there were more than one young person or child in any given setting that needed help. But schools were soon asking for things that I hadn't previously thought of-- for example, education coaching, tuition, working with families. And so, through recruitment this year, we've been able to expand our offer to cover what we were being asked to do.
The idea of the label was really obvious to myself. It seemed like a really clear benefit to me. Because I'd know whether my food was off or not.
But after speaking to the big food manufacturers, the cost of packaging is so slim that adding in any sort of label was just going to make it way too expensive. And so no one wanted to purchase it. But we had this cool technology and we wanted to still use it for something. So we started to develop our spray product.
End transcript: Video 4 Changing ideas
Video 4 Changing ideas
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Ideas can arise from many places: internally (such as from a talent or ability), from experiences and frustrations, or from challenges that you perceive as opportunities. However, these can all change over time. This evolution is common as when ideas come into contact with potential customers or users of a product or service, they may challenge your assumptions and their feedback on their likes and dislikes can lead to new insights.

Next, you will consider the tools and techniques which will help you meet the challenges of refining your idea.


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