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Kevin and Shawn Coyne

'Brainstorming' sounded like a good idea but multiple studies show that it doesn't work. Most people won't talk because afraid they'll look silly or unworthy ideas. The bigmouths and higher status people dominate. And when the boss comes up with a really crappy idea, everyone shuts up because the cost of pointing out its crappiness is too high.

What's the connection between Rollerblades, Haagen-Daas Ice Cream and the Batman movies? All variations of a single business idea derived fro Asking The Right Question. In this case "How can we take something that was emotionally powerful for us as children, then reproduce it in a more exotic and expensive form for adults?" Same idea gave us gourmet cookies, $200 sneakers, rock 'n' roll fantasy camps, paintball.

People are told to 'think outside the box' but in fact need a foundation and structure to build on.

Find unresolved problems. How do you avoid hassle of airports? Fractional ownership of private jets. Mechanics expensive and require car all day so they can work on it when suits them? Jiffy Lube, while you wait, using cheaper labour that can be trained to do just a few tasks.

Many products are designed to provide 'good' service to 'most' people but this always leaves outliers. Consider products that just cater for those who want best and will pay more.

Look for surprising patterns of consumption. Florida baby food company found it was selling far more food than the number of babies implied. Turned out there were senior citizens who needed small servings of nutritious, easily chewed, food.

Some relevant stats for when trying to introduce new product. Consumers are conservative, and over-value the existing benefits of a product they are using by three times. Developers over-value the perceived benefits of their innovation by the same amount. So there is a mismatch of nine times between what innovators think desired, and what consumers actually want.

A version of brainstorming that works - get individuals of similar status together. Get each to put $20 in a pot. The guy who comes up with the best idea (by popular vote), wins the pot.

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