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How to have great ideas – and make them come true

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Staff Writer
Academy for Enterprising Girls

So you’re here to find out how to turn your idea for edamame ice-cream into a marketable success story? Or to find out how your love of sloths can be turned into some kind of climate-saving super career? 

Often we can get frustrated if we don’t come up with the perfect idea right away. Many girls are also perfectionists who like to get things right the first time, every time. But the secret to having good ideas is to train yourself to get into a “design thinking” frame of mind, where it’s OK to fail, and move outside our comfort zones. 

Design thinking is a process for creative problem solving based on the needs of people. Many Girl Founders and entrepreneurs use it as a way to test their ideas and get better at what they do. 

Here are some simple steps that can help you think like an entrepreneur!

Empathy - One of the important things about problem-solving is to listen to other people and understand their perspectives. What would make their life easier? What does your local community need? Set aside your own assumptions and think about who is going to be using your product or service - the end-user. 

Define - Once you think you have found a problem that needs solving, try to clearly define the problem or the opportunity you have in front of you. Knowing what the problem is, that you want to fix, will help you focus on how to fix it. 

Ideation - This is all about idea generation, where you might brainstorm in a group or by yourself to get the creative juices flowing and come up with new ways to solve problems. Ideation often leads to innovation. 

Prototype - This is the part where you get to build your idea or invention, and really get a good understanding of what it needs to work. Your assumptions can be tested on the first version of the product.

Test - Remember who you are solving the problem for? Go back to them with your prototype and see if it works. Do they like it? Is it easy to use? Take any suggestions on board, and go back and make any changes you need to, then start the process again. 

Implement - Time to get real. Implementation is all about putting your invention out into the world, and bring it into people’s lives. This might be the part where you get wider feedback, so you can keep making improvements, or where you begin to sell your product or service.

It’s all about finding a problem and developing a solution, and the design thinking process can help you map our how to go about it.

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