1 Simple Method to Generate Innovative Business Ideas


A critical part of innovation is creativity. A big part creativity is the process of connecting ideas that haven’t been connected before in the same way.

Over time I’ve noticed a pattern in the way that I connect business ideas, and decided to make it into a simple method that will help you cross-pollenate your business with ideas from other industries and business types.

This method works a lot like one of those MadLibs games where you fill in the blanks to create an unexpected result.


How to generate new ideas

We’re going to create a sentence using this formula:

What would it look like if my company tried [activity] like [company or industry]?

Here it is step-by-step:

  1. Choose a business activity that you would like to improve from the activities listed below (or write in your own activity that’s even more specific to your company).

  2. Choose a company or an industry from the list below that you think does this activity well, or has a unique approach. For even better results, come up with a company that you personally respect or look up to in this area,.

  3. Write them down on a piece of paper using the template sentence. You should get some results like this:

What would it look like if my company tried delighting customers like Disney?

What would it look like if my company tried encouraging repeat business like Amazon?

What would it look like if my company tried simplifying pricing like a fast food restaurant.

Once you get a sentence that sparks your interest, take some time researching more about how that company performs well in that area, and brainstorming about how your business could learn from or implement a similar approach.



finding customers

charging customers

providing services

encouraging repeat business

educating customers

increasing efficiency

marketing products

hiring employees

delighting customers

simplifying pricing













a photographer

a fast-food restaurant

a painting company

an artist

a software company

a car mechanic

a barber shop

a skateboard shop

a ski resort

a car manufacturer


The potential impact

One of our company’s biggest breakthroughs (our website-in-a-day service called the Daypack) was sparked this way.

I saw a painting company offering a “Painter for a Day Service” and wondered what it would be like if a web design company did something similar. Years and many iterations later, Knapsack offers this package as our primary service and our customers love it!

Just by cross-pollenating ideas from other industries you can find endless ways to innovate and improve your business.

If you try this method, let me know how it goes in the comments below!

Benjamin ManleyComment