Six steps to turn your idea into a product

Ideas are cheap. Execution is everything.

I’ve said that many times, starting with my first book almost 10 years ago. It’s always been true. And is the cornerstone of the talk I delivered Wednesday to a group of smart, enterprising college professors at ASU’s Cronkite School of Journalism during the Scripps Howard workshop for entrepreneurial journalism.

The key to turning your idea into a product or service is following a systematic process that incorporates tried and true principles from startup companies and corporate innovation programs. The process I favor has six steps:

  1. Research it
  2. Organize and define it
  3. Craft it
  4. Prototype it
  5. Test it
  6. Adapt it

Following this process – or one similar – will ensure that your great idea will meet the consumer’s needs and find traction. And traction with an audience is the most important piece to the puzzle since finding a revenue model only happens once you have created something that people actually want.

As Paul Graham has famously said, make users happy and the money will follow.

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