Where to get app ideas to steamroll your competition

Places of inspiration for good app ideas

Being presented with a blank piece of paper can often be daunting for even the most creative person. Getting anyone in a room and demanding an idea on the spot is usually about as useful as demanding that the same person sneezes on command.

Sometimes a moment of inspiration can come at the most random of times we call it the “lightning bolt” moment. Sometimes a good idea is calculated, tested, developed and crafted over time and through several iterations. Usually, it’s a combination of both the two that gets the best results. A great idea combined with thorough, data-backed examination of any potential sticking points can be the best way to craft a truly great application idea.

Look outside of just your creative or technical teams

Of course, your technical teams and your creative teams know your business and its capabilities inside out. Have you ever thought about asking the customer-facing guys what they think about your ideas? You’d be surprised at how creative the front line of your business can be when given the opportunity.

Nine times out of ten these will be the people that have been at the wrong end of any marketing campaign oversight in the past. A good app will support not only your marketing efforts but also the efficiency of your business if executed properly.

Consider the questions you get asked the most in the course of your business

Are there recurring problems that your customers face? Do they ask you or your service providers for the same help each time they buy or enquire? This could be the basis of an app idea.

If you are a retail store, for example, do people constantly ask you if you have any more stock in the back? Can you order sizes in? Do you have this item in a different colour? A simple app interface and a link up to your stock systems could make for a really helpful in-store terminal to make an order without the customer leaving empty-handed.

This is better for your stores, who get to keep a sale, your warehouse who get to turn their stock more regularly or move the slower selling lines that can be a pain to stock check, and your bottom line will thank you too.

Consider a problem you have suffered yourself and know you can solve

How much time do you waste time at work trying to solve problems? Unless your job is extremely controlled, it is unlikely that you don’t encounter problems at some point during your working

It is always worth remembering that day. You might be a designer that is asked to make imagery with no creative. You might think that a social platform where artists and designers can collaborate and share ideas or stock imagery that you can tailor to your clients’ needs will be helpful, for example.

Can you see an obvious flaw in an existing app?

I have a friend who is a reluctant runner. They recently installed a well-known application that helps people to start running from scratch with a view to being able to run for 30 minutes over a number of weeks.

The app worked fine until the screen saver switched on, at which point the commentary of when to run and when to walk was lost, leaving the reluctant runner breathless and even less inclined to try than before.

This is a perfect example where someone has had a great idea for a really useful app but hasn’t thought through how it functions in the real world on different devices. A perfect opportunity in a competitive market to make some changes and create an even better product.

It is always worth remembering that you must not infringe upon anyone else’s copyright. The Trademark Hub has a really helpful article on ways to protect your app ideas here. You can also refer to this for how to avoid any accidental infringements in the course of creating your apps.

We always work with non-disclosure agreements so anything you tell us will be treated with the strictest of confidence.

A few more abstract methods of ideation

If you are in the really early stages of thinking about developing an app you might want to consider some of the following techniques to start to create ideas:

  • Word association games – think about your chosen subject and then expand out from there with as many associations you can think of and you may be surprised what you come up with
  • Journaling – specifically keeping notepads around the house to write down thoughts as they come to you
  • Good old-fashioned brainstorming – try to get away from your desk to do this as it can stifle the creative process. Book out a meeting room with a whiteboard for half an hour and have a “there’s no such thing as a bad idea” policy to ensure people contribute. If you must be at a desk the free tool Coggle is a great way to record thoughts in a “mind map”.

coggle mind map example

Finally, how to sense check the idea

Speak to people who you are looking to help. Speak to those who you think it would be most beneficial to use the app. Ask them what they would expect to see and whether they would care to download it. Ultimately your goal is to get people to download and interact with your app.

Check the following items off this list. If the answer is “no” to any of these then you may wish to reconsider:

  • Is it interesting, entertaining, useful to the target audience?
  • Does it satisfy a need that they have?
  • Is this the only place they can get this help?
  • Would the target audience share it with like-minded people?
  • Is it the only one of its kind on the app store or is it the best app available currently?
  • Is the idea simple and will it contribute to your business goals?
  • Have you run the idea past a reputable and experienced app development agency to see if they think it’s viable?

We hope that you have found this guide useful and if you are embarking into the wonderful world of apps, we would happily set up a chat to go over the details and see where we can help. Contact us today for an introduction or feel free to request an NDA to get started on your new project.

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