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Seven techniques for working out an entrepreneurial design


There are painters who make a yellow spot out of the sun.
But there are others who through their artistry and intelligence
make the sun out of a yellow spot.


This book is not the place to describe techniques for improving one’s creativity. There are hundreds of books on the subject with many useful recommendations; but please permit me a few remarks.

The American doctor, psychiatrist and author Frederick Flach points out that the creative act is not something that comes out of thin air; rather, it re-arranges already existing facts, ideas and systems, combining them with one another.

The capacity for creativity in many people has become stunted, whether it’s because the environment in which they grew up disapproved of creativity and originality, or because they were molded by a school system that promoted intellectual conformity, or because they worked in organizations that didn’t permit any imagination in structuring their own activities.

Another source of inhibition lies in the erroneous notion that you must have a unique talent for creativity. In contrast to this, Flach emphasizes that the ability to think and act creatively is a universal human strength. The author cites two important rules that I, too, have found to be reinforced again and again in my workshops. First, at the start, you must postpone your own judgment, and second, quantity results in quality.

Of course, it goes against the grain to hold back criticisms during the search for ideas and simply to develop as many ideas as possible, especially ideas that might at the start seem unrealistic and illogical. But it is precisely these two rules that are important because the ideas that come to us first are usually stereotypical and do not bring us as far along as the ideas that will come to us later.

All of us have a tendency, both regarding our own ideas as well as the ideas of others, not to let them stand, but instead, after they have barely been articulated, to immediately analyze and criticize them. The arguments might indeed be very good ones, but they will block the development of new and better ideas.

Anyone who studies creativity in depth will be confronted with a profusion of theories, methods, and techniques. Over the years I have worked out seven techniques for developing successful idea concepts.

They are selected from an almost infinite number of techniques that are known, and in my opinion, they are especially suitable for the subject of entrepreneurial idea development. I have tried to give them names that are as simple as possible, so please don’t be put off by how elementary they sound. A technique is not made better by giving it a pretentious or cryptic name.

Commonly imitation and arbitrage, that is, the transfer of successful models that already exist in a region or other country, are two approaches that initially sound reasonable and were successful for a long time.

These days imitation and arbitrage are less suitable for start-ups. Why? Because information is no longer available only to you. It’s public knowledge that’s accessible to all. Generally, others will be quicker than you are due to the instant dissemination of market prices, e.g., on the Internet, or international trend scouts who are on the lookout for market opportunities for large companies, not to mention the big budgets that the major players invest in imitating successful business models.

While you’re still fiddling with your web page, a giant competitor with concentrated market strength may already be offering the product for sale. To be sure, you can attack the big guys, but not in the areas of arbitrage or imitation.