November 12, 2015 - No Comments!

When “Someone’s Already Done It”

You come up with a brilliant idea, you obsess over it, you Google some info, and on your screen lies your idea, being done by someone else, for the last two years. You’re all too familiar with that sinking feeling in your stomache that follows. You adandon the idea almost immedaitely after all that excitement and ideation.

Two things. First, existing solutions prove your idea — their existence proves that you’re trying to solve a real problem that people might pay to have solved. And it proves that you’re heading in a direction that makes sense in the market.

Second, and this is the biggie: The moment you see someone else’s solution, you mar and limit your ideas. It suddenly becomes a lot more difficult to think outside the box because before, you were exploring totally new territory, but now, you’ve seen someone else’s path. It becomes much harder to be freely creative.

Next time you come up with that great idea, don’t Google it for a week. Let your mind fester on the idea, allow it to grow like many branches from a trunk. Jot down all of the tangentially realted but equally exciting ideas that inevitably follow. Allow your mind to take the idea far into new places. No, you won’t build 90% of them, but give yourself the time to enjoy exploring the idea totally.

When I do this, once I do Google for existing solutions, I usually find that all the other things I came up with are far better than the existing solutions — I have more innovative ideas for where it could go next; I have a unique value proposition that the other guys haven’t figured out yet. But had I searched for them first, I never would have come up with those better ideas.

Finally, if you see your idea has already been done and no longer care about it, then it wasn’t something you were passionate enough about in the first place. Consider it a blessing that you found it.

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Published by: Alex Obenauer in Product Design

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