When I ask someone who is interested in entrepreneurship and hasn't done it, why they haven't, an answer that I get frequently is that they don't have ideas. I never quite understood that. Ideas are easy, probably the easiest part of starting a venture. I figured that there's probably more to the answer. People just don't have ideas that they think are worthy enough for them to jump into, give up whatever they are doing and throw their lives into.
The reality is that many people don't have the ability to test an idea to the point that they are confident that this is something that they could explore as a business venture. By ability I mean, they either don't know how to test the idea or don't have the infrastructure to easily test ideas.
At SI, we have built the ability to test ideas. Firstly, we have the people and the equipment to prototype quickly and test concepts, even if it is an hardware oriented idea. Secondly, we adopt a process of validating the idea at different levels.
I am often asked how we come up with ideas. I struggle to answer that question. I would like to tell them that I have a grand plan of where I see the world going and our ideas are based on that view. While it is partially true that there is a vision of where the world is headed, it will certainly not be true that there is a plan. The reality is that ideas pop into my head at different times, usually triggered by something and I write them down. Sometimes we are just discussing and ideas pop up and again I just write them down.
So where do ideas come from? They are in my note book.
The point is that we don't think it is about the idea. It is about validating the idea at various levels that provides us the confidence that this could be a viable business.