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Creating an app is both an expression of our self and a reflection of what we see is missing in the world. We find ourselves digging deep into who we are, what we would enjoy working on, and what needs still need to be fulfilled. Generating an app idea for the first time can be extremely daunting. Especially with an endless amount of possibilities such as building a church app.
The uncertainty has always spawned a certain fear inside creators. The fear of creating something no one will enjoy. Spending hundreds of dollars and hours building something which might not bring back any real tangible results. The fear of losing our investment to a poor concept is daunting but not random.
Great idea generation is not a gift given to a selected few, instead, it is a process by which any of us are able to carefully explore step by step methods to find our own solution to any problem. Whether you are a seasoned creator or a novice, we have provided a few recommendations to challenge and aid you as you create your next masterpiece.
We will begin by recommending you first explore your own resources, then expand to studying your competition, after which you will conduct a broad analysis of your industry, and lastly we challenge you to expand your vision by exploring industries completely unrelated to your own.
We hope that by the end of this article you may have a clearer grasp on the idea generation process. So that you may continue to challenge both yourself and those around you to a higher standard of innovation.
If you can get good coming up with new app ideas, you can white label them and generate a profit.
No one knows your company better than you do, well, at least that’s the way it should be. When a company first starts out it is significantly different than the same company 1, 3, or five years later. Employees come and go, strategies have radically shifted to stay relevant, past failures have spawned new opportunities, and success has inspired action. The company you have now may be nowhere close to who it was when it first started.
The first step to generating new ideas is to first explore who the company has grown to be. For many companies, this is usually the time they begin to look at their strength and weaknesses. We invite you to look a little further to find out the details of what makes your company unique. Examine your company’s physical appearance, the “brain” otherwise known as the people working for the company, your company’s characteristics, and lastly your pain points.
Is your company’s physical appearance a traditional brick and mortar, a virtual company something in between? More importantly, how important is your company’s physical appearance in relation to how you do business?
Brick and mortar companies have the privilege of interacting face to face with their customers. They get to walk up to one and strike up a friendly conversation and answer any of their questions. Building up a personal relationship feels a bit more natural because the individual is present and you are able to pick up on cues you would have never known online. Such as their preferences, fashion, and lifestyle.
Brick and mortar companies build themselves systems which cater primarily to needs and desires of their local market. Since the majority of their customers are locals, their strategies are tailored towards long term customer acceptance and retention.Much of what they will do is establish relationships with the customers through deep involvement in their personal growth and the growth of the community.
Virtual companies have the privilege of being part of a globally accessed network. They are globally accessible to any customer from around the world through having their own online presence usually in the form of a website, app, blog, or video. Virtual companies are able to build up relationships from around the world and must prepare systems to gather individual customer information.
Virtual companies will usually try to build up a massive email list to stay in an active relationship with all their customers. Having someone’s email means you can share with them relevant content, special deals and ask for a moment of their time to fill out questionnaires or to interview them.
Virtual companies build themselves systems that share value to anyone in the world at any time. Their strategies are focused on growing large followings of targeted customers, encouraging customer-to-customer promotion, partnerships with influencers, and
In-between companies are companies that are on the go. These are companies that are able to mobilize themselves to continuously change their place of business. They enjoy the privilege of switching up where they do business in accordance with their own personal preference and greatest customer potential.
In-between companies build themselves systems to complement their mobility. Since their customers are constantly changing in accordance to their shift in location, they design strategies that will adapt to the changing demographics while still retaining long-term relationships with their clients. A strong online presence with an ever expanding knowledge of local cultures and willingness to adapt to their surroundings will aid this type of business.
After you have examined your company’s “appearance” it is time to look at the brains behind everything you do at your company, your people. The actions your employees take will inherently have their effect on the company’s goals, perception, and process.
Take the time to get to know your employees by getting to know who they are and what characteristics they carry. This will help you understand the company’s culture deeply which plays a major role in what your company will be producing. You will find that each of your employees will see the app creation process from a different perspective and would include major differences in each aspect.
Your employees all play a special role in the company. By including them into the app creation process you open yourself up to a mountain of resources which you could have missed entirely. You will find what your app is missing by interacting with the people that make up every aspect of your business.
Every single one of your employees encounters their own unique challenges and are in one way or another part of the customer experience. Keep them involved and be willing to change according to their feedback. Having a piece of each of your employees will make the app feel like a company-wide ongoing project which not only brings the company together but it affirms that every perspective is being addressed through your app.
Looking into the character of who your company really is will help you determine which ideas match your overall company theme. The character of your company can mostly be defined by the values the company proclaims to stand behind and the actions it actually takes.
Start by taking a look at your mission statement. Truthfully analyze your content, business model, goals, and priorities to see if you really have been staying true to your values. Your customers analyze every single output you produce. Consistency and authenticity through every blog post, email, call, discount, and sale are mandatory. Breaking away from your word breaks the confidence your customers have and may lead to them taking their business elsewhere.
Lastly, examining your own pain points will clear up exactly what areas your app should be hitting. For example, Having a digital presence is critical for businesses of any size, but sometimes a website is too costly and cumbersome for a small business to maintain. Yet, at the same time, if a company decides to leave the website altogether and only focus on social media, such as a Facebook page, then they realize that their options are far too little. might offer too little. LushEnds Salon found a way to reach a middle ground through the use of a simple, but very effective, mobile app. The app communicates their location and services, and allows customers to even ask for professional advice.
Some areas you may consider investigating are logistics, deliveries, and customer support. Certain aspects of customer support can easily be covered through instructional videos, and step-by-step knowledge-base documents for common queries, both accessible via your own app.
Questions to ask yourself:
An important step in the idea generation process is to keep an intimate relationship with those you want to serve. As their giver, you want to be aligned to their every need, want, and complaint. You can learn a lot about your customers by watching them (focusing on behavior) and by listening to them.
Watch how your customers interact with your product and company. Pay careful to attention to where they spend their time. Map out the path they follow in using your product and through the exploration of your website. Your customers value their time and if they choose to give it to you, you are obviously providing some type of value.
After you find out where your customers spend their time and how they navigate through your content, begin to talk to them. Do all you can to have conversations with them so you can know exactly how they feel about your product and business. Send them questioners, try to schedule calls, and create systems within your website and your app to always allow your customers to send you suggestions so you know exactly what to pursue next.
Another way to go about it is to start a database with each of your customers having their own file. If you’re not in the habit of keeping a written record of customer queries and complaints, start doing so now – this will help you easily identify what the most common pain points are, and find ways of solving them.
My bank offers both online banking and a banking app, and the features and services available on both are identical. Why this duplication? Customer convenience: if I’m on the move and only have access to my mobile device, logging into the banking app is faster and simpler than logging onto the banking website.
Convenience itself doesn’t necessarily address a serious pain point, but having the information accessible via an app does put you closer to your customers. Spice Bistro & Bar, like most restaurants, have certain menu items that change on a daily basis. This information is now available through their app, but more importantly, customers can select to have this sent through daily via a push notification; meaning they are able to reach their customers even if they don’t open the app daily.
Questions to ask yourself:
Your business plan is the roadmap of your business. It stands as the foundation on which you build every intricate piece that ultimately makes up your business. Within your plan, focus on revisiting your initial short term and long term goals, strategies for future growth, and mission/vision statements. Work through these in conjunction with some of the points raised above to identify any goals that could be achieved, or aided, through the use of apps.
As you look over your past goals you will have noticed that you have modern solutions to many of your past problems. Use your current knowledge of the world to find new solutions to achieving your short term and long term plans. Look for ways to incorporate many of these solutions with the creation of a mobile app. What types of features, design, and support would your new app need to help you achieve your organizational goals?
Questions to ask:
Marketing is the only function within a business that will continue to foster growth and create new sources of revenue. Everything from your sales team, promotions, advertisements, profit models, and partnerships are affected by the decisions you make in your marketing division. Generating ideas requires a careful look at your current marketing processes and examining whether there are sections which can be transformed into an app or if the app needs to have certain sections to fill in any holes or complement the customer experience.
Marketing is always one of the most challenging processes of a business; there are a myriad of variables to consider, and very few constants. Which is why it is also the ideal process to develop an app around.
Look at where you spend the largest amount of your marketing budget, and investigate how this could be reduced by shifting some of the activity to an app. These may include:
An added benefit to shifting some of your marketing to an app is that you could end up reaching a far wider audience than you currently do. Remember you are not simply looking to reduce your marketing spend, you are looking to spend it more effectively. Even if you spend less, your return on investment (ROI) should be the same, or better.
Questions to ask:
The industry you are in is constantly evolving to fit the needs and wants of its target market. The strategies you are using now will not be as effective in a few months or even in a year. Generating ideas are as continuous as the pursuit of staying up to date with the trends. Your ideas should reflect the current belief and expectations of your target market.
Nowadays, finding out the latest trends is as simple as opening up your browser and reading from a dozen analytics tools, blog post, and expert predictions. Information is abundant, the only limit is our willingness to implement the strategies we find.
There is such an overload of information that choosing which trend or strategy to follow can be overwhelming and even paralyzing. After all, not every trend or strategy is going to apply directly to your target market. While some choose to take a blind guess and just change with high hopes of success. We have found a few tools that will aid you in making a close and calculated decision.
Websites such as Springwise, Trendwatching, Inc. and even Entrepreneur are great for discovering ideas and trends, but because they often cover global trends, it can be difficult to judge what impact they will have on your own business or market. Instead of blindly following every trend that seems remotely applicable, set up a Google Alert for any that might affect you – this will allow you to see how frequently the trend is mentioned (especially by other industry leaders), and possibly highlight how other businesses are adapting to the trend.
Websites to explore:
Without a doubt, your competitors are doing all they can to outshine you. This, as it turns out, is a beautiful thing. Your competitors will do all they can to stay up with the latest trends, discover new and innovate methods to stand out, and attempt to copy any of your ideas. So why is this such a great thing?
First off your competitors all have a team of talented individuals who are doing all they can to succeed. Once they implement their strategies, you will be able to refine them and add your own twist to it. This is what is known as a reactive approach to growth. You wait for your competitors to act and then take their idea and morph to be your own. If you are doing this type of strategy you will, for the most part, always be able to catch up to your competitors by replicating their work
By diving deep into the strategies your competitors are using, you can begin to break them down into components and reverse engineer your own masterpiece. Remember that the end goal here is not to copy all your competitors are doing, we are instead suggesting you use their strategies as a platform to build your own creations. Generating ideas is not always coming up with new concepts or mechanics, many times it is simply bridging the gap others have been unable to close.
Too many companies make the mistake of staying trapped within their own industry bubble. They pay too much attention to “best practices” that only cater to their specific industry. In the long run, many of these companies all end up melting together to create a very similar experience. Generating new ideas does not come by simply taking the same idea and adding a fresh coating over it, it comes through bridging gaps, often times between two very unrelated concepts.
Enhance your business, your ideas, and your app by introducing concepts from a variety of unrelated industries. Below are a few suggestions of what to learn from a few industries.
Every single industry has its own specialties which can be formatted to aid your own business goals. Your job is to simply immerse yourself in their world and break down their magic into components, then take those components and mold them into your own work.
Questions to ask yourself:
Today we talked about breaking down the different components of your company to find the characteristics that make it unique. We built relationships with our customers to know the exact needs of the people we are aiming to serve. We looked back at our business plan to see if we could solve our past goals and if we stayed true to our values. We opened up channels between our marketing team to allow a smooth transition of ideas refined our marketing process. We examined tools to help us stay up to date with the latest trends in our industry. We analyzed competitors and used their creations as a platform for our own ingenuity. And lastly, we jumped head first into other industries to learn their best practices and then morphed those concepts back into our own business.
We hope this article has given you a clearer grasp of the idea generating process. There is no singular way to create ideas, instead, there is a process that wonderfully comes together and which can be carefully explored in every aspect of your business.
1) Fitness Buddy
Fitness Buddy is here to encourage your personal growth so you can achieve your desired levels of fitness. The app starts by first analysing how fit/active its user is. It then ask its user what “What is your ideal fitness level?”. Fitness Buddy will also ask its user to list any injuries or limitations. After which, Fitness Buddy will ask its users to list how many times a week and for how long during the day they would like to exercise. Once all this information is gathered, Fitness Buddy gives users a recommended list of exercises. Including recommended repetitions to do, for how many hours a day, and for how many days a week. Fitness Buddy will also take into account menstrual cycles for women users and adjust exercises to fit the limited capabilities of their bodies during these cycles. Fitness Buddy has a unique feature allowing it to recommend the amount of daily water and protein. Fitness Buddy is here to protect and promote the user’s well-being. Sources of revenue can be implemented through a “pro service” which gives users access to exercise plans and diet plans.
2) Your Voice Translation
Language will no longer be a barrier. By using the “Your Voice Translation” app, users are able to speak into their phone and immediately have their words translated to their desired language. The app would work by first having two people sitting across from one another with a phone in between them. The users then choose their native language. After which two bubble buttons would appear. One in blue with user A’s language and the other in red with user B’s language. Users then take turns speaking into the app by first pushing their colored button. When they push their colored button, the screen will also change according to that color and say the name of the language being spoken. Users take turns being speaker and listener. Once the speaker is finished and the listener wishes to respond, all the listener has to do is double tap the screen which will instantly switch to the listener’s language. Allowing the listener to now speak. Future updates could include a “subtitle” mode that not only speaks out the language but also creates a live script for people to follow along and look back on. This app would make a great travel tool for any tourist and can easily be leveraged to public speakers, classrooms, politics, meetings, and anyone learning a new language.
3) Order Delivery Aggregator
Tracking your package is never an easy task, especially when you buy from multiple vendors that ship through multiple distributors. If you buy from Amazon, eBay, AliExpress, Victoria’s Secret then you will have to separately log onto each account to check the status of your orders. This app aims to give you a space to collectively view all your orders. By giving this app access to your order history, it will automatically update itself on the status of your order. Saving you the time and the stress of having to log onto multiple websites to see where each of your packages are. You can also keep track of packages sent by you and your loved ones by manually inputting the tracking number and the carrier’s name.
4) Recipe Aggregator
Sometimes all you have are a few ingredients and one recipe that you have used way too many times. So if your meals have all been starting to taste oddly familiar then it’s time to spice things up. This app allows you to input a list of all the ingredients you would like to cook with. Then the app will take your ingredients and search online for hundreds of recipes with only these ingredients. Recipes can be filtered based on their ratings and time to cook. When you find the recipe you like, you are then able to follow the step-by-step instructions to help you create your masterpiece. Or if you are too busy to cook, you can click a “find near me” button which will search for restaurants closest to you with this dish.
5) You Are What You Eat
The way it works is that you let your emotions guide your taste buds. The point of this app is to capture your daily emotions and then match you with foods that mirror these emotions. It can easily be done through a simple questionnaire that will give you, as the user, a food recommendation. Followed with the location of a local restaurant with that dish. Human emotions are extremely complex but having the ability to complement people’s current mood with a delicious meal is an avenue worth exploring.
6) You Always Know What To Say
Communication is an integral part of our lives. We interact daily with strangers, acquaintances, friends, and others that we love. For some people, it’s hard enough to make initial contact. The question then becomes “Well, what do I say?”. Thanks to this app, starting a conversation will no longer be an issue. The app begins by asking you an initial question such as “What is your relationship with this person?”. You can choose from the four groups of “stranger, acquaintance, lover, and friend”. The app then ask you “what kind of conversation do you want to have?” You can choose from “casual, flirtatious, friendly, philosophical, supportive, and aggressive/confrontational”. The point of this app is to give people everything they need to start the conversation right by knowing who they are talking to and what type of conversation they hope to have. Not every conversation is conclusive but it can start with a memorable opening.
7) Name That Flower
The world is too beautiful and diverse to not be explored by someone. We daily come across plant life that captures our full attention. Yet the problem then comes when you try to describe that plant without knowing its name. Typing in “plant with red flowers and green leaves” will only get you so far. This app is meant to eliminate that frustration. Ideally customers will be able to take a picture of any plant life which will then match to a picture on your plant life database. The system will then send that person information on the plant such as: its name, origin, edibility, small description, a link to more information, and a link to buy the plant life through a local or online vendor. The app database can either be filled by its users or can be filled through partnering with local and online flower shops. This gives the app creator leverage in choosing who to partner with. This app can be monetized by taking a commission from every plant sold through the app or for first mention in the “buy here” section
8) Your Perfect Garden
A garden can be a safe haven for some, a wise teacher for others, and a source of beauty for many. Gardens express the creative soul of its creator. They each tell their own story and carry in them fragile life. This app gives anyone the tools they need to tell their own story. The app itself starts by giving users a plot of land or flowerpot. Then they are given a diverse list of plant life which they are able to drag and drop into their garden. Giving users a visual representation of their soon to be garden. Users are able to find plants through a search bar or through the various categories in the app. After the user creates their garden, they are able to receive a quote from a local flower shop on the price of their garden. Along with a quote for the price of a local gardener to plant them for you.
9) Up The Ladder
Have you ever looked at someone and thought “Wow, how did they get to be so successful”? This app does just that. It aims to solve that issue by giving users a place to document and share their journey. Users are able to list their education, job experiences, references, skills required, and advice. The app also allows you to search for professionals by their industry and education. This app should be a one stop resources for questions such as “What can I do with this major?”, “What skills will I need for this job?”, “What training, certification, experience will I need to be successful?”.This app can easily be leveraged by school systems as a resource for its students or by companies to develop their employees. Users are also able to promote themselves and charge a fee for training.
10) Similar Book Search
You just read the final words and have concluded the trilogy you had been reading for the past month. Feelings of joy and satisfaction fill you with a certain undescribable peace as you stare off into the distance. You then come to realize that there is no new frontier. This last book was the end to the series you had invested so much of yourself into.This app aims to fill that void by bridging you to your next adventure. You start by typing in a list of your favorite or recently read stories. The app will then offer customized recommendations as to what you should read next. Each recommendation includes a short description along with a rating system, customer reviews, similar stories, and the offer to buy an electronic or paperback version of the book. Users are also able to search for books based on author, genre, language, and setting. By the end of the process, your users should be joyfully satisfied as they immerse themselves into a new world.
11) Battery Optimizer
It’s 6pm, you’re leaving work and you look at your phone only to see it’s out of battery already. The day is only part done and you have to worry about getting your phone charged for the rest of the evening. A very real problem for millions of people around the world. With the shift to more feature rich smart phones, the one thing that has unfortunately stayed the same is the size of the smartphone battery. The Battery Optimizer app would aim to track battery usage across a variety of measures: by application, by services running on the phone and by actions taken. Then the app would be able to make recommendations like shutting off Bluetooth from 9:30am till 4:30pm as it is often left on, but unused. A way to give “smart” suggestions to optimize battery usage, or just allow the app to handle the optimization automatically for the best battery life possible.
12) Gifts For Friends (Base on Data)
Finding the perfect gift for anyone is hard. You’ll often spend hours looking for the perfect gift, buy something and still have disappointment. We put out so much data on the internet about our lives, likes, dislikes and more. This app would make use of the data your friends put on Facebook and the internet to build a profile of who they are, what they like, and what their perfect gift would be. If there is mass adoption, tying in Google’s profiling data would make it even more accurate. The end result is a 3-tap experience from opening the app, to picking a friend and getting recommendations on what to buy for them based on the occasion.
13) Tinder For Recipes
People are often spoilt for choice and without a finite amount of choices, it’s hard for them to make decisions. This app would aim to give each user 5 to 10 recipe recommendations to choose from each day or for each meal, based on their preferences. The premise is that the user would continue to see recommendations until they swipe “yes” on a recommendation. That way it’s a simple choice. An extension of this can be to focus on specific objectives or dietary goals (ie. eating healthier or eating a paleo diet).
14) Smart Video & Content Recommendations
There’s a lot of companies out there aggregating data about each and every one of us. Some have that data openly accessible to understand how they categorize us. The aim of this app would be to capitalize on those profiles, along with further profiling through a series of like/dislike questions, to determine the best content to deliver to that person. Think of it as a simple best of _____ delivery: top 3 videos from the web today, top 3 news articles and so on.
15) Chatroulette For Studying Students
Exam time is rolling around and students are scrambling to form study groups and gain the benefit of shared knowledge. Often times there is a disconnect on this end that results in many students not being able to connect with others to study. The aim of this app is to bridge the gap and make study group creation easy and potentially virtual. A student can open the app, enter in their info of what class and subject they want help with. From there they’re matched with others on the same campus or in different schools who have the same need. They can choose set times to meet online and leverage a framework given by the app to help them study in the most efficient way.
16) Home Cooked Meal On Demand
With the rise in easily accessible food, there’s a large chunk of the population that doesn’t know how to cook, let alone cook healty food. The concept of a “home cooked meal” is extremely foreign to a large majority of the population. The premise of this app is to make home made food available on demand. You’d be able to open the app, find people who are ready to make you a home cooked meal in your area, and order through the app with a set time delivery. A simple marketplace styled app.
17) All In One Dashboard
The average business owner has to check at least half a dozen dashboards on a daily basis to see the status of his or her business. This results in dozens of wasted hours every month checking information that could be more readily available. Most business owners are on the go a lot, even within their own office. The aim of this app is to provide them with an easy solution that connects to where their data is currently, to aggregate that data into one easy to access place on their smartphone or tablet. The end result saves them more than half of the time spent every month by just making their data easier to access. An expansion could include inferences, suggestions or recommendations based on that data to save them even more time in their business.
18) Proximity Based File Sharing
You’re out with friends, taking pictures from your evening together and now each of you has a dozen pictures to share with the other. Your only option is to waste hundreds of megabytes of data (this could be $10+ in data depending on where you live) to transfer the pictures while you’re all still together, or hope everyone remembers and sends around the pictures when they get home later (this rarely happens). This app aims to eliminate the need for data wastage or the possibility of people forgetting by leveraging the multiple data transfer channels available within smartphones. It would allows groups of people to send data through multiple channels (Bluetooth, WiFi, etc) in the same way AirDrop allows proximity based sharing over WiFi. That way data can be sent locally, without the need for costly data transfer. The main element here would be an easier way to have this data transfer occur.
19) Real Time Voice Translation
You go on vacation, things are going smoothly and you decide to hop into a local restaurant to get some food, try things “off the beaten path”. You’re faced with a a giant wall, the language barrier. You are able to get by with Google Translate and the limited text translation it provides, but even then it’s not a smooth interaction. With the shift to a more connected global community, there is also a big uptick in travel. Travel to countries where many expect to “get by” with their common language. While it has become easier with a large chunk of the population speaking some level of English, there is still a big gap in translation tools. Google Translate is one of the most advanced out there, but even Google Translate struggled with languages in the Eastern world and it has yet to move into real time or semi-real time translation. The aim of this mobile app would be to provide semi-real time or even real time language translation in the major business countries of the world. A thorough need for the enterprise sector. The ability to translate English into Mandarin and Mandarin back into English is often done through translators in the enterprise world, and that poses a high cost to businesses that want to enter the Asian markets without a lot of resources.