Ideation with Mike Stemple
Ideation, how to come up with and develop small business ideas with Mike Stemple, a serial entrepreneur, artist, and ideation coach and consultant. He shares his fascinating story of overcoming personal handicaps and challenges to become a highly successful serial entrepreneur, and his insights on creating and developing ideas.
Mike is a serial entrepreneur, having built over 20 technology companies to date, and also an artist (you may have seen some of his large outdoor murals along I-25 in Denver, Colorado), and endurance athlete. He is currently founder and CEO at Inspirer, where he is taking the extensive experience he has building brands, ideating, and innovating, to help others do the same. Mike is also a sponsored endurance athlete, a mentor and Director-emeritus at Founder Institute, a mentor at Techstars, and a veteran of the US Army.
Some of Mike’s companies include: Skinit (sold in 2007), Original Wraps (bought by 3M in 2013), Odojo (bought by SafetyWeb in 2010), and nReach (bought by a public company in 2004).
As Mike explains:
“We all have the ability to ideate. It’s a skill that we were born with and cultivated at a very young age. Something happens as we grow up that causes us to lose touch with our inner ideator that always used to ask, “What if….?”
“Using our proprietary ideation tools and techniques, we help people unlock their imagination and creativity so that they can start to look at the world and see the infinite possibilities that exist.”
Henry and Mike’s conversation about small business ideation (how to come up with a great idea for a new small business) includes:
- A discussion of the ideation process, and Mikes experience and insights on how to create and develop new business ideas.
- “The mantra that ideas are ‘worthless and it is all about execution’ is false. There are 35x as many construction workers as there are architects. Without the ‘blueprint’ nothing would get built. And we are builders, we see the world as broken, and we have so much more building and architecting to do.”
- Mike shares his opinion related to sharing our ideas with others. People are often hesitant to sharing their ideas with others because they fear may be stolen.
- Mike introduces his innovation formula: INSPIRATION × IDEATION = INNOVATION
- Effectual Action. Starts with: Understanding who are you. What do you know? Who do you know? When you can answer all three, it gives you courage.
- Trend Mapping – Focusing on the incremental change instead of identifying a convergence in the future, then becoming the subject matter expert and controlling it leading to innovation.
Mike has a fairly unique and rather contrarian opinion on business ideas. He believes the idea is more important than the execution. Regardless of what’s most important, there is the need to follow a somewhat structured approach to the process of coming up with new business ideas. This may apply to a new business idea for a business startup, or ideas to help an existing small business pivot or grow (may also be referred to as innovation). The process of identifying and developing an idea is referred to as Ideation.
To get better at ideation, entrepreneurs and small business owners must tap into their creative abilities and strengths. And while many people have perhaps lost touch with their creativity and might believe they are not creative, we are all capable of creativity. It’s also arguable that creativity is a key trait of successful entrepreneurs and business owners.