145 years ago, Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone. Nowadays, there are nearly 9 million mobile apps in the world.
The sheer number of apps may suggest coming up with a solid app idea shouldn’t be difficult. That may be true, but inventing a useful app that people actually download is a whole other story.
So, how can you come up with an idea for a useful app? One way is to identify a problem and come up with an app that solves it. Apps that do so are called solutions-based apps.
When Alexander Graham Bell came up with the idea for the telephone, he was trying to solve a particular problem: how can someone communicate in real-time with someone else who’s far away?
When Thomas Edison invented the lightbulb (though to be fair, other people invented the lightbulb around the same time), he was trying to solve an even more fundamental problem: how can someone see clearly in the dark?
Coming up with an idea for a solution-based app is similar. However, your solution-based app idea doesn’t have to change history to succeed in the app marketplace. Apps that solve the tiniest problems, such as niche apps, can do very well.
1. Take Inspiration from Other Apps
Solution-based apps don’t emerge from the ether. When someone invents a solution-based app, they tend to take inspiration from other apps that already exist. So look around and do your research.
Your solution-based app doesn’t have to be utterly original to succeed in the mobile app marketplace. On the contrary, if there is already a solution-based app that solves the problem you’d like to solve with your app, but your app can solve it better, or solve it while looking better, or solve it in a way that’s fun–and so on–then your solution-based app might outshine the competition.
2. Don’t Think About Money
If your main goal for coming up with a new solution-based app is to get rich, you might have the wrong approach.
Solution-based apps aren’t necessarily start up or business ideas. What matters when coming up with a solution-based app is that users will want to, well, use it, not whether you’ll be able to sell it for a hefty price.
It’s important to take things one step at a time. The first step is to come up with an idea for a solution-based app, the next is to pitch your idea to a mobile app developer firm like Guaraná Technologies. Once a developer starts developing your app idea, then you can think about money.
3. Talk to People
If you can’t think of a problem that can be solved with an app, other people can. Talk to friends, family, and even strangers to learn what issues they face that could be solved with an app.
If you’re worried that doing so might constitute stealing an idea, remember that they’re identifying the problem, but you’re coming up with the solution.
That being said, if you find that you work well with another person, consider trying to come up with a solution-based app together. The brainstorming process can benefit from other brains.
It may sound counterintuitive, but sometimes the best way to think up an idea is to not think at all. Relaxation is an excellent way to harness your creativity. You do some of your best thinking when you’re not trying to think.
Or, as Don Draper put it, when thinking up an idea, “Think about it deeply, then forget it, and an idea will jump up in your face.”