When you are deeply invested and thoughtful in a new idea it’s possible to find inspiration in weird and wonderful places. The trick is to keep an open mind and understand the problems you are trying to solve.
One story I recently I came across was a story from the very early days before Nike even existed. Phil Knight (who became the founder and CEO of Nike) first sourced innovative trainers from Japan. Mr. Onitsuka who led the Japanese firm (Onitsuka) which produced Tiger trainers used to find inspiration in unusual places. Apparently, he was once eating sushi and looked down seeing an octopus tentacle. He looked at the suckers all of the tentacle and thought the idea would create a better sole for his trainers – a revolutionary shoe in the American market back in the 1960s. As the legendary running coach Bill Bowerman deconstructed shoes and watched his future olympians train he would describe problems with the current shoes and come up with weird and wild designs that he would share with Onitsuka. Between them, they started to re-design some of the most innovative shoes in the world which gave American athletes an edge.
Design ideas exist all around. For me, I read books and learn from courses that are completely outside of my work domain. It’s amazing what history, music, physics, biology, politics and design can do for the world of technology and products.
How can you increase the different sources of inspiration for your product? Is there a different genre or course you can do to sprinkle some new ideas into your products, services or business?