New Product Creativity Comes from Combining Products in a New Way

By John R. Aberle | Business Management

Nov 28

Are you struggling to come up with a new approach that can make you a market leader? Stop trying to be truly original by inventing something completely new and novel. Most commercially successful creativity comes from combining products and services in new ways or for new markets.

Albert-Einstein meme using public domain photo plus quote about Same Thinking


Examples of Products Based on Other People’s Inventions

The goal is to create a product that the market wants. Often that merely means recognizing a product or service and how it fills a need like these successful examples of creativity:

  • The GPS came out of the U.S. Air Force’s system for using satellites for global positioning. Someone just applied this technology to civilian usage.
  • Both the Macintosh and the Windows operating systems came out of Xerox’s PARC (Palo Alto Research Center
  • Microsoft Office was the result of perceiving an unfilled need and creating a suite of products that worked smoothly together using the same commands and location for those commands based on existing products – Word and Excel for sure
  • The iPod was a brilliant example of taking existing technology and applying it in a novel way. We had the flash drive technology and previously we had portable cassette recorders. The iPod merely merged the idea of having portable music while eliminating the need for all those cassettes or CDs.
  • The most famous automobile manufacturer in America, Henry Ford, didn’t invent the car. He merely had the genius to apply assembly line processes to manufacturing automobiles.
  • Ray Kroc didn’t invent McDonald’s but he took the simple system Dick and Mac McDonald were using and applied it to franchising and applied the systems approach to the preparation and selling of fast foods.

The point is that these incredible successes achieved their stratospheric positions in our business world not by creating totally novel products but by recognizing a need in society and seeing the opportunity to combine what others invented in a novel application. So how do you do this?

Albert Einstein is famous for many quotes but one that is especially relevant to small business owners and managers is the following: “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”[1] This means that you must expand your consciousness to go where you haven’t been before.


Tips for Opening Your Awareness to New Ideas

The following are some ways to open your consciousness to new ideas:

    • Take a trip or vacation and look for the ways others are doing things
      • For instance, a restaurant small business owner could get a lot of ideas by taking a cruise with one of the major cruise lines. Carnival has a tour on their ships called a “Behind the Fun” Tour.
      • It is incredibly impressive to see what it takes to feed several thousand people plus over 1,000 crew members daily. The other operations too will really expand your thinking. They obviously have well designed and managed systems.
    • Attend a conference or trade show. Naturally you will want to attend your own to catch up on the newest developments, but try another industry that you have always been curious about to see what is different or novel in their businesses. Maybe something will spark an idea for you.
    • Hire a consultant or outside expert to help you look at your business from another viewpoint. Everyone gets so used to what is in their business that they can’t see the problems. As small business consultants, that was one of the biggest benefits we brought our clients.
  • Read a book in an area you normally don’t read. For instance, I’m reading one on the allegedly mythical continent of Atlantis. It’s Atlantis; The Antediluvian World, which was originally published in 1882.   It’s amazing the things that researchers have been known about the similarities between the “New World” and the “Old World,” things which aren’t talked about in standard histories. For instance, how is it that there are carving and even a large statue in Central America and South America of Africans prior to the time of Columbus? I’ve seen pictures of a statue of a very obviously Negro head. Whether the writer, Ignatius Donnelly, was right about Atlantis or not, reading such “facts” can really expand your reality enabling you to think outside the box of your traditional education.
  • Listen closely to the positions of people who hold opposing views to your own. The goal isn’t to change your viewpoint and convert to theirs but to open your thinking to a new way of perceiving reality.

You can creatively bring new products to market without inventing the whole thing from scratch. Use one or more of the five tips you found in this article to help you expand your awareness, to see new ideas in another industry. Then, use your creativity to combine products in a new way to fill a need within an underserved niche among your clients.

Open your heart in selling,

 John's digital signature written with mouse





John R. Aberle


Image of How Relationship Selling Rewards Small Businesses book cover for 12 Types of Content Marketing’s #12 Books


















Do you love taking care of your customers and prospects? If you yearn to build more long-term business connections with your customers, get your copy of the Amazon Kindle eBook:  How Relationship Selling Rewards Small Businesses.



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About the Author

I have a strong love for small businesses, especially brick and mortar companies. After an 18-year career in sales and marketing, I started my own service company, which I grew in both sales and profits for the first five years. In my sixth year, the bottom dropped out of the printer market such that it made more sense to sell my assets and return to Southern California. There I went to work for an international small business consulting company. I spent over three years on the road with them helping small businesses to become more profitable and better managed. I then started my own company specializing in sales and marketing consulting, coaching and training. My emphasis is on heart-centered, relationship selling that empowers prospects to make their own choices.