How to create a world-class business idea — in six easy steps

Published: Monday, July 16 2012 11:00 p.m. MDT

Mother nature forms natural diamonds abundantly via a chemical process, intense pressure and significant heat. All are powerfully focused to change the internal structure of carbon atoms.

From these facts, he formulated an idea as he theorized that he could couple a natural chemical process with a powerful physical device to manufacture real diamonds by replicating the powers and actions within the earth.

In his mind, he envisioned injecting a chemical catalyst into a tiny chamber filled with carbon crystals that would endure extremely high temperatures and enormous pressure.

Based on his hypothesis, he developed a design, purchased the materials, built a press system and began to test his theory of producing synthetic diamonds. Did it work? Absolutely. Now many years later, tons of man-made diamonds are sold for cutting, grinding and drilling worldwide, every year.

4. Test the idea

My uncle followed what is known as the scientific method. In short, it's a process that begins with an observation of a situation, perhaps a problem or opportunity. The observer then asks himself, what is happening and why. This leads to the gathering of information followed by a thoughtful prediction that might explain the matter. The process continues with an experiment to test the prediction, followed by the collection, analysis and interpretation of data. The process concludes with a tested and viable solution.

In sum, I believe all great ideas are ultimately proved to be successful via the scientific method of discovery.

5. Timing of ideas

Some innovative ideas will meet the needs of consumers today, and other concepts will be conceived now but are not anticipated nor sought yet by shoppers. Consider Xerox Parc, which developed many of the technologies we use today. Scientists at the Parc developed laser printers, personal workstations, Ethernet, fiber optics and the graphical user interface. Its mission was to develop the "office of the future."

Most of these now famous products were imagined more than 30 years ago and came to market long after the initial idea was born.

6. Good idea?

Remember an idea is worth nothing until it has been commercialized and there are paying customers. Some ideas will be wildly profitable, while others will be a failed dream.

Learn to eliminate the bad ones quickly; don't waste your time, energy and money. In the end, remarkable ideas lead to compelling products purchased by vast markets of enthusiastic buyers.

The goal of any dreamer is to determine what idea will ultimately be the best choice among several options.

In conclusion, please note the following general steps leading to great ideas.

1. Know there are ideas with your name on them. Find them.

2. Look and see problems and opportunities within your environment. They exist.

3. Based upon knowledge, imagine solutions to what you find. Ideas are born.

4. Be zealous and passionate about your ideas. They're yours.

5. Test your ideas. Will they work and will customers want to buy them?

6. Is the market ready for your ideas? Now or later? Are you ready to create your new idea? I welcome your thoughts.

This article originally appeared in Alan E. Hall's Forbes column.

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