Ten potential entrepreneur students attended a workshop last Wednesday aimed at helping them to create business ideas. The event was run by Create, Lancaster University’s enterprise scheme, and gave the students the opportunity to win a £50 prize for the most original idea produced.
The workshop taught students about creative thinking and ideas generation. Create Manager Joe Buglass introduced several of his own techniques to encourage the generation of ideas, including an ideas matrix and ideas mapping. The matrix combines what Buglass calls the four primary sources of ideas: passions, anger or frustration, hobbies, and necessities. The technique allows links to be made between the four to produce original ideas and was, according to Buglass, particularly well received.
Ideas mapping works on a similar basis to mind-mapping, with students identifying a target market and working outwards to come up with ideas.
Another technique was the use of negative thinking. “I basically force [the students] to get really negative – it’s a good one for product improvement,” Buglass explained.
The event also helped to ensure viability through questioning various aspects of the undertaking. Students were encouraged to consider personal issues relating to their ideas such as ethics and time management. Financial issues such as future profitability were other areas mentioned as important to consider, as were market access and product protection.
Speaking to SCAN with his feedback from the workshop, Buglass said he was extremely pleased with the way it went.
For privacy reasons he was unable to disclose details of the idea winning the cash prize, as Create are now looking to help with its further development. However, Buglass was able to explain why the winner was chosen. It was “original, picking up on a current market, a market I know exists. I was impressed with the breadth of ambition [of the idea and the student].”
The workshop produced many more inventive ideas from students who have been invited back to develop them further.
Buglass hopes that the workshop has put out a positive message about Create.
“There’s a perception on campus that people think they need a business idea already to come to Create with, and I think what we’ve proven is that we have the ability to sit down and help you develop an idea,” he said. “We’re here to make ideas reality.”