DTD Episode 6: The 5 Stages of Creativity for Product Development!


DTD Podcast 6 – The 5 Stages of Creativity for Product Development! – Creativity is an illusive subject because many people talk about it but have no idea HOW or WHEN they can implement creativity.  However, when people think of creativity, what comes to mind are colorful illustrations, paintings, musicians, etc..  Creativity is a process.  A process in which you are trying to solve a particular problem.  This process can be cultivated into your lifestyle and guide the way you think.  So on this episode, we are going to talk about a 5 Step process and give you some examples of people that have used something as simple as a napkin sketch to plant the seeds for a product.

Topics of Discussion:

  • The Power Tea to fuel your Creativity!(not really)
  • How Can you think Creatively?
  • Stage 1 – Awareness 
  • Stage 2 – Understanding the Problem
  • Stage 3 – Working on Solutions
  • When do you think of your best ideas?  You’ll be surprised to know that ….
  • Stage 4 – Light Bulb Moment 
  • Steve Jobs –  His Love for Typography 
  • Being Mindful and Conscious of the subjects you learn
  • Stage 5 – Verify the Idea 

Problem Solving and Creativity: The 5 Stages

Stage 1 – Awareness

What does it mean to be aware?  Aware of what?  Awareness in creative problem solving means understanding the current landscape of products out there that solve a particular solution.  This means that any potential solution that you decide to come up requires understanding the EXISTING solutions sets and how you can essentially make YOUR solution better than the rest of them.

Stage 2 – Understanding the Problem

Understanding the problem in itself requires you to understand whether there is an ACTUAL problem that necessitates a solution.  Obviously if there are a lot of products out there that solve the same problem but in different ways, it gives some validation to the theoretical problem statement.  So for example, let’s look at a product like a Fiscar Pruner.  If any of you have have used Pruners or Cutters made by the company Fiscars, you will notice how EASY on your hands these pruners are for clipping your rose bushes, flowers beds, etc..  This is because there designs incorporate a mechanical advantage that reduces the amount of force you need to apply to the cutting twig or branch of the rose bush.  On top of this, the blades are incredibly sharp and last a long time.

So the problem could be stated as:

Many Pruners are hard to use because they cause hand pain when using them for extended periods of time.   

So for the Awareness portion, you would research all the different types of pruners out there that seek to fix this particular problem.

Stage 3 – Working on Solutions

This is where you begin to explore ideas.  So get your pencil and paper out and start to draw and explore different solutions to the problem.  This is your time to have fun and try different ways of solving a problem.  They may not all be winners but as you go through this process, you will need to understand how each solution addresses the problem.  You may also find that after 3-5 concepts, concept 1 may solve A,B, and C, but concept 5 solves X, Y, Z.  So at this point you may need to combine certain features that may give you the ultimate solution.

Stage 4 – Light Bulb Moment

This is where the solution presents itself in the most unplanned way.  It’s the light bulb moment.  After spending days or maybe weeks on the first 3 stages, the light bulb moment may present a solution that was triggered by a resent event or something that you may have learned from the past.  This can only happen during a process where you constantly think about problem and work through the solutions.  Sometimes the solution can present itself when you are in the car or in the shower. I find that a lot of my best ideas come about when I am in the car and can think without any distractions.

Stage 5 – Verify your Idea

Once you have the idea solidified then you are ready to bring it to life…but not production!  So you have to build a model of your final solution so you can go on and refine the product even further.  When you start to work with a model, you may uncover several other issues that need to be resolved.   One of the best ways is to make a few prototypes and have target market “TEST” the product for you and elicit their feedback on what they think needs to improve.  You have to remember that sometimes what you “think” people like, may not be what they want at all.  So you may FEEL that the solution is correct but you are only one data point. So it’s in your best interest to find others that can provide you with honest feedback.

That’s a wrap! I hope you enjoyed this podcast and you found it informative!   Be sure to tune into our next podcast where I will talk about being the Jack of all Trades and whether this is a benefit or deterrent to your self improvement and learning process!

Thanks so much for tuning in!