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Where's The Big Idea?

Finding ideas in everyday places.

This story appears in the March 1998 issue of Business Start-Ups magazine.

How do you come up with an invention that clearly stands out--something customers want and key decision makers in the distribution network want to sell? If you think it's tough to generate new product ideas, think again. Ideas for great inventions are all around you. You just need to know what to look for and what questions to ask, and you'll be able to come up with several winning ideas each year.

One tactic for generating ideas is to notice and record problems or needs that come up while you're using products. In 1981, Mark C. Williams, an inventor in Indianapolis, was relaxing at home, watching a video, when President Reagan was shot. Williams didn't know about the shooting until his sister called and gave him the news.

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