Ever have that eureka moment when you are certain that you just come up with that next great idea? How about after having that idea you do some research and find some one has already done it?
You aren’t alone. It happens all the time, every day and always. In fact its the one of the ways innovation works – ideas come from what is already possible – its called the adjacent possible You shouldn’t feel bad though, you should embrace it. Look to the past for inspiration – no, not last years past but, 50 or a 100 years past. Its likely some great idea that was applied to businesses or work then can be reapplied or moderized today.
I was inspired by the trivia-know-it-all blog Mental Floss. They posted an innocent post on why coupons are worth 1/100th of a penny. Apparantly there was an affinity program that predated coupons using stamps and stamp books. (Spawn gamification) Long story short, participating stores would give out stamps for each purchase that were redeemable after you filled your stamp book.
These innocent, older ideas triggered plans for me on my work. Sometimes looking to the past can give you ideas that may already work. Like I said, somebody already did the work, you just need to look for it.
What older ideas or sources do you look to for inspiration?