Entrepreneurship Campus

You are invited to receive free training at the Entrepreneurship Campus. This online training provides methods and techniques for developing ideas into solid business models, to turn a budding idea into a fully developed concept, or to improve on an existing business model.

Recombining what already exists


Practical exercises

Today you are going to learn how to recombine different existing elements and how you can use them to expand your entrepreneurial design!

What kind of products/services come to your mind, where function, features and look was recombined?

(for example: swiss barlowknife, bio-fastfood-restaurant, a bistro with a bookshop …)

If you think about your own concept or idea – which elements (function, features, look) can be recombined?

Which new elements can be added to your concept and be combined with ideas?

What kind of questions and problems do you still have, which can be solved by recombining?

The example that I find to be the most illustrative is the following:

“Think ceramic,” says Thijs Nel, an artist in Magaliesberg near Johannesburg. His art form is ceramics. Confronted with the slums in his vicinity, he got an idea for how to build better houses. Traditionally the residents of this South African township built their homes out of mud, with the walls reinforced with stakes and branches. However, when the termites eat the wood, they create excellent channels for water, and the houses don’t last long in rainy weather.

You could describe Nel’s entrepreneurial idea as follows: Imagine a cup. Turn the cup upside down. Make the cup bigger and bigger in your mind’s eye. Now imagine holes in this cup. Now let’s call this cup a “house.”

Now like other ceramic wares, this house-sized cup with holes as windows must be fired at a high temperature. The firing can be organized with the help of other villagers. The result is a house that’s much more durable than traditional huts, but hardly more expensive.

The artist as architect and entrepreneur, with an idea, astoundingly simple and demonstrably practical. Everyone can be his own builder, potter, and artist. It’s even highly likely that the townships will be more attractive than the accomplishments of many trained architects.

Now you may say, that’s nothing new. Many peoples, such as the Hopi Indians, built in this manner. That’s right, Nel also didn’t discover anything new, but looked for an inexpensive. The traditional material for his cup idea, a material you could find everywhere – and he combined something familiar in a new way.

A technique as simple as it is effective -- which you can also come up with through systematic thinking.