How Entrepreneurs Come Up With Great Ideas

There is no magic formula. But that doesn’t mean there’s no formula at all.

At the heart of any successful business is a great idea. Some seem so simple we wonder why nobody thought of them before. Others are so revolutionary we wonder how anybody could’ve thought of them at all.

But those great ideas don’t come on command. And that leaves lots of would-be entrepreneurs asking the same question: How did everybody else get inspiration to strike—and how can we work the same magic?

To find out, we turned to the experts – entrepreneurs who have written success stories of their own.

Michael Laurier – CEO
Symphony Environmental Ltd

I joined the family packaging business in the 70’s when we were manufacturing jute and burlap sacks. I soon realised that plastic was the future of packaging, as strong as jute and burlap, yet lighter, more flexible and cheaper to produce. We switched production to plastic bags and films and the business grew.

By the late 80’s we could see that this fantastic material had a downside, its durability. If it escapes collection, it can last for decades causing serious problems in the environment. We began to look for a way to lessen the problem of plastic litter and collaborated with a number of other businesses and scientists, eventually developing our (oxo-biodegradable) controlled-life, plastic.

Plastic waste in the environment is a global problem, so for me, it’s about being pragmatic, involving the right people, and developing partnerships with global companies and organisations worldwide, to make the vision a reality.

Kerry Katsapaos

Kerry Katsapaos – Group Marketing Coordinator
Mauve Group 

It may be a cliché, but the idea for Mauve Group was born to fulfil a need; as telecommunications contractors travelling the world on short-term assignments, our CEOs had to find cost-effective solutions allowing them to work compliantly anywhere. From a cupboard-sized office, they devised and pitched an employment solution for just one country to a large telecoms project, and everything snowballed; today Mauve offers its services in 60+ countries worldwide to a diverse clientele.

Mauve found its niche because its CEOs were immersed in an industry that needed a solution; they were bold enough to think laterally and take actions that had no precedent. A great tactic to catalyse new ideas is to become an authority on the market you’re trying to crack; if you’re an expert in your field, you’re ahead of the curve and logic will lead you to find great resolutions to any challenges you face.

Dave Lawrence – President

Great ideas are formed in the unfathomable depths of one’s mind. If it were only so easy to call upon that on demand for solutions our life would be so much easier. The goal is to set the stage and let your mind do its mysterious problem solving on its own. How do you do that you might ask?  First know and believe that there is a better way to do everything in this world and all you have to do is to let your mind wander without the perception that it can’t be done. Don’t be afraid to bounce your ideas off your peers as discussions are the birth place of new and innovative thinking.

Sometimes the simplest comment can lead to a new line of thought and to what I refer to as an “Elegant Solution“, one that is simple and direct.  

Hitesh Jain – Founder & CEO
GoPhygital – Incubated by WITS Interactive

Any idea which helps in addressing a problem faced by people in their day to day lives has the potential to become a great idea!

My co-founder and I were having a chat one day about how his 4 year old daughter was learning a lot easily from apps than how it was taught in her school and the downside of too much ‘screen time’ when he asked “but what if the book interacted with her like an app would” and that is how the idea of Go Phygital was born.

At Go Phygital, we create exciting solutions that go beyond the ‘digital only’ domain and enhance physical products with digital engagement.

Tom Shea – President
Upper Crust Enterprises

We manufacture Authentic Panko and Tempura batter mix for Japanese restaurant chefs all over the world. The best ideas we have come up with is when we have open communication with restaurant chefs and boldly experimenting with ingredients and cooking methods that have never been combined together.  Many of these experiments fail but the few that due make it create new product and menu ideas that are truly different.  So it is all about not being afraid to experiment and then adjust from your learning to find ways to make it work.  Some of the unique ideas that have come about in the last year is related to Panko breadcrumbs (visit to learn about Panko).  Panko is a special bread crumb used in Japanese cooking to make fried items like coated pork (Tonkatsu) or coated fried shrimp.  But through experiments our non-Japanese restaurant customer are now using Panko to created deserts and using the product in ravioli and meatballs to improve the quality of their items. 

Lorenzo J. Lopez – Managing Partner
OceanAir Logistics

When having a genuine concern for people and their companies, you have found the most important entrepreneurial business idea. It all starts here!

To be successful, you must love the work you do. It’s in your eyes…it’s in the tone of your voice… and clients will sense it right away. And being happy, because you love what you do – will undoubtedly bring back cheerful clients to your doorstep.

Our growth and success has not necessarily been the tonnage of cargo we move, but the happy clients that return.  And it’s OceanAir Logistics’ complete satisfaction that our clientele have also been successful, by having our company as their logistics partner, in getting their products promptly & successfully delivered to more than satisfaction to their customers. And by genuinely caring, you keep clients coming back. We love Logistics. But most importantly – we love People!

Tausif Siddiqi – Partner & Chief Growth Officer
Baz Associates

Intentions, desires and dreams give birth to realities. The eventual reality that occurs may or may not be what we had originally envisioned, but in my experience – it always is a change for the better, bigger, & stronger – than the pre-dream or pre-desire norm. As the saying goes, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. That first step originates from our wills and desires.

But once we do take that step, support and help comes along from unseen and unthought-of places & peoples. This is what Baz Associates went through as a provider of knowledge process outsourcing solutions aimed at helping firms grow their bottom line. Our flagship product idea that we hope is the next Uber, came from an unexpected pointer by an unexpected client. All we did was start the journey and embrace the adventure with open arms – and eyes ‘n ears!

Gavan Murphy – Director of Marketing EMEA

Our continuous innovation cycle, and abiding commitment to exploring how to make our solutions even better, are the beating heart of our product development roadmap.

For example, in 2007, Globalstar saw a gap in the marketplace for a reliable, highly capable communications device for personal safety and tracking. There were GSM-based trackers, but none leveraging satellites, designed and priced for consumers.

This was our chance to give ordinary people a compact and rugged safety device to help them do extraordinary things, like outdoor pursuits and adventures that are so popular today. Now in its third generation, with next generation in development, over 280,000 SPOT customers later, it’s abundantly clear that many people require our devices. So far they’ve initiated over 4,750 rescues worldwide, many lifesaving.

Now businesses and government agencies have enthusiastically adopted SPOT, which is easily clipped to ordinary clothing, protective workwear, or a backpack.

So for Globalstar, generating great ideas is just about taking a 360-degree view of what’s out there, and observing where there’s a need, while harnessing the energy and brainpower of our talented scientists and engineers, all driven to redefine what’s considered possible..

Gavan Murphy

Kerri Groves – Co-Founder & CEO
LookOut Software

Some of my best ideas have come when I focus my mind on strengthening my body. I am a bit of a fitness nut and love to swim in the English Channel, go to the gym and trek through the White Cliffs of Dover.

To manage a cold sea your concentration is on the mechanics of moving. In my gym classes I focus my attention on the proper movements in order to not injure myself. Whilst my mind is busy focusing on my body ideas pop into my head without any effort.