Our corporate ideation game, with 52 prompts for generating new business ideas.
What is this for?
This is a collection of 52 cards to help you brainstorm and come up with new ideas. Use them as a catalyst for smarter, more unique ideation sessions.
How do you use the brainstorm cards?
Start with a challenge or problem.
Use the cards for inspiration. (Start with an individual brainstorm.) Come up with ideas for 20 minutes.
Share ideas with the team and build further on the best ones.
Yes, give me this tool!
Brainstorm cards 2019 (coming soon).
Tap into your customers' unmet or growing needs.
What if the product was also an experience?
How can you turn products into experiences? Starbucks adds a whole experience on top of your coffee cup: they make you feel special by adding your name on your cup, and providing you with comfy couches and WiFi.
What if your product was so simple, a child could use it?
Imagine an interface that doesn't need any explanation. Interfaces like the ones seen on Android and iOS are largely self-explanatory, and let every user find what they're looking for.
What if you could predict customer behavior?
Think of ways to answer customers' needs rapidly by predicting those needs. Amazon patented a system for predictive logistics: based on buying trends, your searches, and regional data, they send products to warehouses close to you even before you buy them.
What if you gave your customers something unexpected?
Go the extra mile: surprise your customers with a present, a nice message, or smart packaging. Tomorrowland's tickets are delivered in an outstandingly artsy box.
What if everyone lived in urban areas?
By 2030, 60% of us will be living in cities. Imagine services that work best in crowded cities with lots of traffic jams, apartment blocks, and ubiquitous internet. Deliveroo leverages young bikers, who can deliver food quickly even through intense traffic.
What if you had access to all your clients' personal data?
Imagine a world without privacy concerns, where clients expected companies to use their data. For example, customers can sell their data to DataCoup, which sells it to corporations for marketing purposes.
What if you used gamification?
Think of ways to give clients a fun time while using your product or service. You can add levels, social rankings, perks, awards, missions, and scores. Waze, for example, gives you points for every kilometer driven or for every report added.
What if your customer was on a digital detox?
Imagine a non-connected solution for your problem. Suppose your customer tries to avoid any sort of digital product and communication.
What if you had to source everything locally?
Imagine that your customers only buy from you if you can prove that all value in your product is created within 100 miles of the store. Instead of providing a centralized service, 3D Hubs, a platform for 3D printing, distributes production to people with 3D printers at home.
What if you could reframe your service into bite-size components?
Duolingo turns the lengthy, painful process of learning a new language into a playful list of small, easy 5-min lessons.
What if you went fully global?
Netflix today acts as a global TV operator, producing and distributing content worldwide, and creating international social phenomena. Remember "Stranger Things?"
What if your customers moved to a new country every week?
Transferwise banking service is fully global: it can be opened online everywhere in the world, accepts payments in every currency, and charges no or very small fees regardless of location.
What if you could offer full customization?
Imagine ways to let your customers customize their favorite product or service, and to produce or deliver that customization cheaply. The Nike iD online store allows users to completely customize the look and feel of their shoes, for only 150€.
Unlock new possibilities through technology.
What if you only had voice to interact with users?
Smart assistants like Alexa (Amazon), Google Assistant (Google), and Siri (Apple) only interact with users via voice.
What if you used your user's DNA to customize your service?
Spotify will offer personalized playlists reflecting the cultural music of users’ heritage, based on their DNA test (provided by the partner "Ancestry").
What if you could use artificial intelligence?
No business will avoid being disrupted by artificial intelligence. In the insurance industry, Lemonade uses artificial intelligence and chatbots extensively to deliver insurance policies and handle claims.
What if no staff was required?
Wheelys and Amazon (through Amazon Go) are rolling out unmanned stores; CitizenM hotels have self-service receptions; new underground lines have driverless trains. How can you design your service with no humans involved?
What if you used biometrics for identification?
Imagine using fingerprints, iris-scans or a person's unique heartbeat to make identification secure and convenient. Citibank uses voice biometrics to automatically identify customers while they explain their issues customer representatives over the phone.
What if your products learned by being used?
Imagine your solution becomes smarter the more it's used, so that it could adapt to the user's specific needs. The Nest smart thermostat finds patterns in your behavior and adjusts temperature based on historical data and your current behavior or location.
What if drones were allowed everywhere?
Think of ways to use drones in your service, such as for deliveries, automation, scanning, security. IBM is reportedly working on a drone concept that recognizes when you want a coffee and flies it to your desk.
What if you helped reduce the use of technology?
Imagine ways to help your customers use your product less. With Screen Time, Apple devices give you a record of how much time you spend on the device, on which apps, and then let you set limits on your own usage.
What if everyone had a digital Alfred?
Can you provide your users with digital assistants (either chatbots or talking interfaces) that solve their issues and complete small tasks on their behalf? For example, Google Duplex is a technology that is able to make simple phone calls on your behalf, like booking a restaurant.
What if you delivered a Pokemon Go experience?
Remember Pokemon Go? And the filters for selfies? They are notable Augmented Reality applications, and they illustrated the power of adding a digital visual layer on top of the non-digital reality. If you could add a digital layer on your users' eyes, what would you display on there?
What if you include the whole history of a product in one single file?
Imagine you could use blockchain technologies to sum into one single "file" the whole "clinical folder" of any given product (information on production, shipment, location, contracts, communications, expiring date, ...). For example, Civil is rewriting the future of journalism through Ethereum-based blockchain.
Business model innovation
Discover new ways to capture and deliver value.
What if customers shared your offering?
Imagine a setup that lets customers access an asset when they need it, without owning it, helping them split the cost among peers. Car sharing and bike sharing schemes follow this principle.
What if you were charged a fee for delivering a bad customer experience?
Whatsapp for Business charges companies if they fail to reply to their customers within 48 hours.
What if your customers were extremely wealthy?
Imagine VIP features that would make you rich by selling them to just one client. Many crowdfunding campaigns allow donations of thousands of euros, in exchange for a priceless experience (for example, a dinner with the CEO of the startup).
What if you turned from B2C to B2B (or vice versa)?
Airbnb and Ryanair originally only designed a service for B2C. Later, they added B2B services, with Airbnb offering defined standards for business travelers and Ryanair offering a business package)
What if you extended your vertical integration?
Ease your customer's experience by integrating more services into the verticals of your industry. Whim is creating one single monthly subscription that integrates public transport, bike sharing, car sharing, and a package of TAXI rides.
What if you allowed external providers into your service?
Imagine ways to let other companies integrate their services into your service. Slack allows hundreds of third-party extensions into its communication platform.
What if your company had only 5 employees?
Imagine ways to offer your products and services with a small team. Consider automation, outsourcing, and other solutions. Instagram had 13 employees when Facebook acquired it for $1 billion.
What if your users were doing marketing for you?
Instead of creating your own videos and marketing material, imagine ways to let your users do the job for you: think of user-generated content or collaborations with influencers. GoPro, for example, extensively leverages real footage from users for its marketing purposes.
What if you were a low cost?
Imagine what an ultra-low-cost version of your product could look like. What can your users do without? Where can you do some cost-cutting? Look at how WOW Air or Norwegian Airlines can fly you from Europe to the USA for less than 150€.
What if you had to have a partnership?
Think of co-creating new solutions with a partner company. Who would you work with? What would that create? Philips has a history in launching products in joint ventures with other companies, such as Senseo or Nivea.
What if the crowd was willing to help you?
Think of ways to tackle big challenges by using lots of helping hands. Think of crowd-funding/-sourcing/-investing/-lending. LEGO IDEAS is an ideation platform to crowdsource ideas for new products: everyone can submit, everyone can vote, and the winning ideas gain 1% of net sales.
What if you sold at negative margins?
Imagine that you could sell way below the prices of your, at the point that you'd be able to attract all existing clients. For example, IKEA cafeterias sell at very low prices to attract customers to their shops.
What if your service was free for your customer?
Think of ways to earn money without asking users to pay, such as advertising, referral fees, partnerships, and freemium models. Spotify's music repertoire is entirely accessible for free, sponsored by the 30% of users who go Premium.
What if there was no regulatory framework yet?
Think of "grey zones" in regulations, where you may find business opportunities, at least in the short term. Airbnb, like many other startups, was able to grow exponentially because no regulation existed for their kind of business in the first years of their activities.
What if you helped your customer save money?
Consider ways to help your users save money. Blink Health is a service that turns your expensive branded prescriptions to generic prescriptions (up to 90% cheaper). You can buy them online and pick them up in your local drug store.
What if you made your customers work for you?
Consider activities that your users may help you complete in exchange for a reward - instead of hiring people to do the same. Bird asks their users to "hunt and charge" their scooters overnight - a user can earn 5-20$ for a single charge.
FOR THE GREATER GOOD
Contribute to reaching higher social goals.
What if you donated a % of your revenues to charity?
Capture more clients by letting them be effortlessly generous. Amazon Smile provides the same service as Amazon, with the only difference being that it forwards 0.5% of revenues to a charity of the client's choice.
What if you could help your customers go carbon-neutral?
Make it easier for customers to go carbon-neutral and choose sustainable behaviors. KLM lets their travelers compensate for the CO2 produced during the journey.
What if you were 100% transparent?
Think of ways to be truly honest and open to everyone in your value chain. What opportunities would it create? For example, Buffer shares the wages of every employee online, while the startup Invisible Technologies documents every strategic decision live.
What if direct advertising was forbidden?
Imagine a world without commercials. Good products and services would need to create brand lovers who share their experiences with others. Costco saves an estimated 2% a year in costs by not advertising, allowing the company to cut prices for loyal members.
What if you gained a customer for each kg of CO2 that you saved?
Think of products and services that have zero (or positive) impact on the planet. For example, Nike's Logistic Campus in Belgium is not only self-sufficient but also supplies energy for 1,500 additional households.
What if you could build something that benefits a whole community?
Imagine ways in which your product or service can benefit not only your users or buyers, but society. Milan's Apple Store, for example, rebuilt an entire square and added a small amphitheater that the whole community can use.
What if you could increase inclusion?
Imagine ways you can address disadvantaged groups, and tailor your products and services to reduce the gap. Think of targeted discounts, or ad-hoc features. For example, Disney developed "Feeling Fireworks", a tactile experience that aims to give a perception of fireworks for the visually impaired.
What if you could only use recycled materials?
Imagine you had no access to raw materials: you can't use plastic, nor new fabrics. How can you extract new value by re-using, up-cycle or re-cycle existing products? ThredUp, for example, sells second-hand clothes through a convenient e-commerce website.
What if you could help your competitors?
Competition is so 2017. Think of ways to leverage cooperation instead of competition: share know-how with your competitors, create alliances, or simply show some generosity. In 2014, Tesla made all their patents public, "in the spirit of the open source movement", and in 2018 they published the full blueprint of all their cars.