Varun Mallapragada

Varun Mallapragada



“There is one thing stronger than all the armies of the world, and that is an idea whose time has come.” 🧵 Framework for generating high-impact ideas:

Cultivating ideas is a process. You have to build a system to cultivate impactful ideas consistently. I will share a 4-part framework that you can use to cultivate ideas. 1. Idea generation 2. Idea selection 3. Idea validation 4. Idea implementation

In this thread, I'll dive into "Idea Generation" & describe a simple framework that you can implement right away! The following threads will cover the remaining 3 parts to cultivate ideas. Lateral thinking is key - first, diverge & then converge. Overview:

1/ PROBLEM - a question proposed for a solution, a matter stated for examination or proof. Reframe problems into well-defined & clear "How might we.." statements. This prioritises intention over tech/process. But 1st, it is very important to be at the right problem level.

Example problem: Our customers don't order pizza. GO NARROW: Ask "what's stopping you?" to get to the real problem. What's stopping customers from ordering pizza? - stale toppings? - bad sauce? Problem statement: How might we ensure that the pizza toppings are fresh?

GO BROAD: Use the 5 Whys framework to get to the real problem. Why don't customers order pizza? - Unhealthy? - Expensive? Problem statement: How might we help customers pick our pizza? @dklineii explains this framework well:

@dklineii Is narrow better or broad? Depends on your goal. Validate the problem with at least 5-10 people who face it, understand the nuances. Frame a proper "How Might We" statement. Don't proceed until you have the problem statement figured out properly, spend enough time!

@dklineii 2/ DIVERGE - quality through quantity. This phase is all about avoiding errors of omission. Follow as many lines of thought as possible to generate a large list of solutions to the problem. Expand & go wider. Don't exclude anything. All ideas are good ideas. Defer judgment.

@dklineii To diverge & generate ideas, use: 1. Mindmapping - Branch out with relations 2. SCAMPER model - Which elements can you Substitute, Combine, Adapt, Minify/Magnify, Put to another use, Eliminate, Reverse? 3. Business model canvas - What can you add/remove in each box of the BMC?

@dklineii You now have a huge list of ideas. You've effectively improved the odds of having a great idea somewhere in that list. The point is to ensure that you get high quality & impactful ideas by forcing a high quantity of ideas. Hence, quality through quantity.

@dklineii 3/ CONVERGE - filter down This phase is all about avoiding errors of commission. Think of this stage as a funnel. Apply judgement & find relations between ideas. Analyse your list of ideas & bucket similar ideas into categories.

@dklineii Go through each category & score every idea against: - meeting user needs - effort to develop - impact on the customer Involve decision makers & discuss the top 10-20 ideas. Feedback is key. Pick ideas, maintain a list & review it every 3-4 months.

@dklineii KEY POINTS for making this process effective: 1. Diversity in the team is extremely useful. Assemble people with different: - perspectives - problem-solving styles - mindsets (introverted & extroverted) - proximity to the problem - expertise (cross-functional & subject matter)

@dklineii 2. While diverging, stop saying things like: - we already tried that - our competitors failed at it - it's ahead of its time - seems complicated, etc 3. Define the thought process - accommodate people who ideate within constraints & without.

@dklineii 4. Use an outside facilitator to eliminate bias & enable thinking. 5. Communicate upwards about the idea generation system. Present your ideas properly to get buy-ins: - Explain the problem - Explain the process - Introduce selected ideas/solutions Tip: Lobby votes beforehand.

@dklineii Perspective is important to come up with high-impact ideas. Check out the following threads: 1. Using the Socratic Method to reclaim your curiosity, stimulate critical thinking, and establish first principles by @SahilBloom:

@dklineii @SahilBloom 2. 6 things kids know by heart that adults forgot by @anafabrega11:

@dklineii @SahilBloom @anafabrega11 3. Why do smart product people & teams often build products with mediocre or no impact? by @shreyas:

@dklineii @SahilBloom @anafabrega11 @shreyas Tools I've used & can recommend for this process: @NotionHQ - Build pages to accommodate your specific requirements. @MiroHQ - Great templates to enable creative & critical thinking. @aha_io Ideas - Advanced, expensive & extremely powerful for large teams.

This thread on idea generation is the 1st stage of a 4-part framework to cultivate ideas. Follow me for more threads on concepts that will help you become a better entrepreneur. If you found this useful, RT the 1st tweet to share it with others.

Summary: 1. Define the problem statement clearly & at the right level. 2. Diverge to generate a large list of ideas. 3. Converge to select specific ideas. 4. Maintain the list & review it every 3-4 months. 5. Communicate your ideas properly.

Once you generate ideas, you need to select the right ones to implement. Here’s the 2nd part of the 4-part framework on Idea Cultivation:

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