How to use Heuristic Ideation Technique to find Product Development Ideas?

We’ve all been mesmerized by Instax polaroid cameras. But have you ever wondered if there was a way you could preview and edit pictures before the camera printed it out?

Well, that’s where Kodak’s Smile Instant Print Camera comes into the picture! The camera allows you to shoot, preview, and edit the pictures instantly. Imagine how many films one can save!

But how did Kodak come up with this idea?

Looking at the product idea, we can see that the product combines multiple features like capturing, editing, and printing. 

Pretty creative, right?

This is exactly how Heuristic Ideation Technique (HIT) can help you develop many such creative ideas quickly.

The technique focuses on generating new product ideas by exploring different products’ features. It combines these features in different ways using a matrix and some basic rules.

Yes! That is all you need.

Now let’s look at the basic principle behind this technique.

Principles of Heuristic Ideation Technique

To locate your next creative idea quickly, you need to follow a few rules known as the HIT rules of thumb. It states that-

  • The new ideas that you come up with are usually combinations of the existing ideas. For instance, the idea behind Netflix is a combination of Internet and Entertainment videos.
  • A two-element combination can often capture the core of many new product ideas. For example, a compact tool kit and stainless steel are the two elements that capture the core of the Swiss knife.
  • The combinations of different items like Food and Transport trigger more ideas like food delivery, grocery delivery, etc than the combinations of similar items like Food and Restaurant.

Now let’s see the Heuristic ideation technique in action and find you an idea for your next product.

Using HIT to find a product development idea

All you need is an HIT Matrix to find the combinations of different product ideas.

Here, the rows and columns define the characteristics of two different existing products respectively. With that, you are left with combinations of different characteristics of both products.

Let’s have a look at the whole process step by step and use it as a workbook to find your next product idea- 

Step 1 – Make a Grid

The first step of the process involves making a grid. Let’s consider two products, TV and a Smart speaker. As discussed, we add the respective product features in the the rows and columns of the matrix.

How to make a grid using Heuristic Ideation Technique

Step 2 – Assign a number to each combination

For the next step, you can assign a (random) name or number to each combination. The assigned number or name acts as the title of the combination. Here, 1 represents a combination of Video and Music in the matrix.

How to assign a number to the combinations using Heuristic Ideation TechniqueStep 3 – Remove the already existing product ideas

After numbering all the combinations, we delete the combinations for which a product already exists in the market. For example, the combo of music + video, music + display device, and voice-activated displays are already in the market. So, let’s cross them out.

How to remove the existing ideas using Heuristic Ideation TechniqueStep 4 – Eliminate the illogical combos (and you’ll be left with the feasible ones)

There could be many combinations that don’t seem logical – Eliminate them as well. Now you will be left with combos that are novel as well as doable.

Like the combination number 7, i.e., cable channels and a personal assistant is doable. Using AI in streaming services can increase the users’ engagement since an assistant can help choose more relevant programs depending on a user’s choice.

how to Nix Illogical Combos and leave the doable one using Heuristic Ideation Technique

And just like that, you have a new product idea to work on!


Isn’t that a quick and easy way to look for your next product idea?

Did you find yours? 

Let us know in the comments below!

Next read: Morphological Analysis – A problem solving method to aid the idea generation phase

Edited by: Ridhima Mahajan, Market Research

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