How to brainstorm great business ideas

How to “get an idea”? I think it has a lot to do with heuristics, part creativity and a domain understanding of the problem you are trying to solve (if there’s a problem waiting to be solved). In artificial intelligence, the self-driving car was a solution looking for a problem. Absolutely no one asked for it. The hype cycle around this (and the churning of PhD’s looking at this field) is a bad idea.

It’s been said that ideas don’t matter, execution does. I wholeheartedly disagree. You need both to succeed, but you can only get so good at execution. A great idea gives you much more leverage.

Projects fail because of poor ideas because practitioners end up with tons of series of meetings to “execute” and “micromanage” the issues as a routine.

Here’s another interesting blurb:

It’s hard to say where the best place to start brainstorming is, not because there are so few, but because there are so many. There are thousands of good problems out there, and practically anything can trigger you to stumble across one.

What’s more important is that you recognize a good problem when you see one, and vice versa. If a problem scores poorly on the rubric above, don’t waste your time. Keep brainstorming.

I initiated an internal project to digitise the entire Radiation Oncology department. I realise one fundamental problem- lack of efficiency. However, the rubric usually fails with the administrators because lack of efficiency is a measure for “productive employment”, according to them. If people are “busy”, they would find less time for anything else.

Yet, in the cancer department, we need to do more talking and less grunt work. The problem won’t get solved unless an organisation sees it is a common purpose to promote efficiency (and hence improve the patient experience).


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