Can't think of good business ideas? (HOW TO FIX)

May 25, 2024


This article was written and proof-read by a ExplodingInsights editor.


Starting a business is an exciting yet daunting endeavor. One of the most significant challenges aspiring entrepreneurs face is coming up with a viable business idea. The pressure to innovate and create something unique can be overwhelming, leading to a mental block. However, generating good business ideas is a skill that can be developed with the right techniques and mindset. This article will explore various strategies and methods to help you overcome the hurdle of idea generation and set you on the path to entrepreneurial success.

Understanding the Importance of Idea Generation

Idea generation is the foundational phase within the innovation process, crucial for conceiving novel products, inventive solutions, and innovative business models. It involves the act of conceiving, evolving, and expressing abstract, tangible, or visual concepts. Positioned at the initial stage of the idea management funnel, it revolves around generating potential answers to identified or real challenges and possibilities. This process aims to devise creative solutions for perceived or actual issues and opportunities.

Common Barriers to Idea Generation

Before diving into the techniques, it’s essential to understand the common barriers that might be hindering your creative process:

  1. Fear of Failure: The fear of coming up with a bad idea can paralyze your creativity. Remember, not every idea will be a winner, and that’s okay.

  2. Perfectionism: Waiting for the perfect idea can lead to inaction. It’s better to start with a rough concept and refine it over time.

  3. Lack of Inspiration: Sometimes, the environment or routine can stifle creativity. Changing your surroundings or routine can help spark new ideas.

  4. Overthinking: Overanalyzing every idea can lead to decision fatigue. Trust your instincts and give yourself permission to explore different concepts.

Techniques for Generating Business Ideas

1. Brainstorming

Brainstorming is a well-known method for generating ideas, initially conceived by Alex Osborn and subsequently refined by Charles Hutchison Clark. The core objective of brainstorming is to stimulate the creation of fresh and unconventional concepts within a collective of individuals. This technique involves gathering a group of people, posing a question, and documenting every thought that emerges without judgment.Steps for Effective Brainstorming:

  • Set a Clear Objective: Define the problem or opportunity you want to address.

  • Create a Safe Environment: Encourage participants to share ideas without fear of criticism.

  • Use a Whiteboard or Butcher Paper: Visual aids can help in capturing and organizing thoughts.

  • Encourage Wild Ideas: Sometimes, the most outlandish ideas can lead to innovative solutions.

  • Build on Others’ Ideas: Collaboration can enhance and refine initial concepts.

2. Mind Mapping

Mind mapping is a technique of presenting information visually, which helps in organizing thoughts and identifying connections between different ideas. This method is particularly useful for breaking down complex problems into manageable parts.How to Create a Mind Map:

  • Start with a Central Idea: Write the main problem or opportunity in the center of a page.

  • Branch Out: Draw lines from the central idea to sub-ideas or related concepts.

  • Use Keywords and Images: Visual elements can make the mind map more engaging and easier to understand.

  • Explore Different Paths: Don’t limit yourself to one direction; explore various branches and connections.

3. SCAMPER Technique

SCAMPER is an acronym for Substitute, Combine, Adapt, Modify, Put to another use, Eliminate, and Reverse. This technique encourages you to think about existing products or services and how they can be improved or repurposed.Applying SCAMPER:

  • Substitute: What can you replace to improve the product or service?

  • Combine: Can you merge two ideas to create a new solution?

  • Adapt: How can you adapt an existing idea to a new context?

  • Modify: What changes can you make to enhance the product or service?

  • Put to Another Use: Can the product or service be used in a different way?

  • Eliminate: What elements can you remove to simplify the product or service?

  • Reverse: Can you reverse the process or components to create something new?

4. Role-Playing

Role-playing involves assuming different personas or perspectives to explore various aspects of a problem or opportunity. This technique can help you understand the needs and preferences of different stakeholders, leading to more customer-centric solutions.Steps for Role-Playing:

  • Define the Roles: Identify the different stakeholders involved in the problem or opportunity.

  • Act Out Scenarios: Create scenarios and act them out from the perspective of each role.

  • Identify Pain Points: Note the challenges and pain points experienced by each role.

  • Brainstorm Solutions: Generate ideas to address the identified pain points.

5. Reverse Thinking

Reverse thinking involves looking at a problem or opportunity from the opposite perspective. Instead of asking how to solve a problem, you ask how to create the problem. This technique can help you identify potential pitfalls and generate innovative solutions.How to Apply Reverse Thinking:

  • Define the Problem: Clearly state the problem or opportunity.

  • Reverse the Problem: Ask how you can create or worsen the problem.

  • Identify Solutions: Use the reversed problem to brainstorm solutions that prevent or mitigate the issue.

Developing a Creative Mindset

Generating good business ideas requires more than just techniques; it requires a creative mindset. Here are some ways to cultivate creativity:

1. Give Yourself Space and Time to Think

The key to creative thinking is finding the space and time to think. Research has discussed in depth the value of solitude for inspiring creative thought and process. Allow yourself the freedom to daydream and take breaks from your routine. Creative solutions are more likely to emerge when you observe, engage, and are mindful of your surroundings.

2. Iterate

Creative thinking is fundamentally a cyclical, non-linear process. The key is to be flexible and adapt the solution to the problem, rather than force a solution. Iterative thinking accounts for unpredictable user behavior and patterns by adapting the approach at any stage of the process, being non-judgmental and open-minded to possibilities and opportunities.

3. Be Positive

A positive state of mind is a trigger for creative flow. When we are happy, content, and engaged, the imagination network involving areas deep inside the prefrontal cortex and temporal lobe is activated. Cultivating a positive mindset can enhance your ability to generate innovative ideas.

4. Collaborate

Collaboration can stimulate creative juices and foster a creative spirit. While some researchers stress the need to find like-minded collaborators, working with people who have different perspectives can also be beneficial. The discussion, strife, and opposing voices can help refine your ideas and beliefs.

Practical Examples of Idea Generation

To illustrate the effectiveness of these techniques, let’s look at some practical examples:

1. Airbnb

Airbnb was started when two designers had spare space and hosted travelers. This simple idea of sharing unused space evolved into a global platform that revolutionized the hospitality industry.

2. Uber

Uber was founded by two entrepreneurs trying to figure out how to reduce transportation costs. By leveraging technology and the concept of ride-sharing, they created a service that transformed urban transportation.

3. Scrub Daddy

Scrub Daddy, a popular product featured on Shark Tank, was created by identifying a common household problem—cleaning. The innovative design and material of the sponge made it a best-selling product.

Overcoming Mental Blocks

If you find yourself stuck and unable to generate ideas, here are some strategies to overcome mental blocks:

1. Change Your Environment

Sometimes, a change of scenery can stimulate creativity. Try working in a different location, such as a park, café, or co-working space.

2. Engage in New Activities

Learning new hobbies or engaging in different activities can help foster new neural connections and enhance your creative skills. Activities like painting, playing a musical instrument, or even cooking can stimulate your brain and lead to new ideas.

3. Take Breaks

Taking regular breaks can prevent burnout and give your mind the rest it needs to generate fresh ideas. Short walks, meditation, or simply stepping away from your desk can make a significant difference.

4. Seek Feedback

Sometimes, an outside perspective can provide valuable insights. Share your ideas with friends, family, or colleagues and ask for their feedback. They might offer suggestions or identify potential issues you hadn’t considered.


Generating good business ideas is a critical skill for any aspiring entrepreneur. By understanding the importance of idea generation, overcoming common barriers, and applying various techniques, you can unlock your creative potential and come up with innovative solutions. Remember, creativity is not an innate talent but a skill that can be developed and nurtured. With the right mindset and approach, you can overcome the hurdle of idea generation and set yourself on the path to entrepreneurial success.Whether you’re brainstorming with a team, mind mapping on your own, or applying the SCAMPER technique, the key is to stay open-minded and flexible. Embrace the iterative nature of the creative process, and don’t be afraid to take risks. With persistence and a positive attitude, you’ll find that good business ideas are within your reach.

Market-tested, scalable business ideas that can be built over nights and weekends.

Market-tested, scalable business ideas that can be built over nights and weekends.

Market-tested, scalable business ideas that can be built over nights and weekends.

Market-tested, scalable business ideas that can be built over nights and weekends.

Exploding Insights LLC

236 E 20th Street
New York City, New York 10009

Phone: +1 (661)-704-3252

© Copyright 2024. All Rights Reserved by Exploding Insights

Exploding Insights LLC

236 E 20th Street
New York City, New York 10009

Phone: +1 (661)-704-3252

© Copyright 2024. All Rights Reserved by Exploding Insights

Exploding Insights LLC

236 E 20th Street
New York City, New York 10009

Phone: +1 (661)-704-3252

© Copyright 2024. All Rights Reserved by Exploding Insights

Exploding Insights LLC

236 E 20th Street
New York City, New York 10009

Phone: +1 (661)-704-3252

© Copyright 2024. All Rights Reserved by Exploding Insights