Guide to Generating Ideas

Guide to Generating Ideas

Sometimes people wanting to start a social enterprise are aware of the problem they want to solve, but aren’t so sure of how they might solve that problem. If that’s the case there are a couple of approaches you might want to consider.

Explore Your Problem and Community

Sometimes a problem sits within a specific context and a specific community. Often you will find that solutions generated by the community themselves will get better support and be more successful over the long term. If this is the situation you are in, then design thinking (also known as human centred design) may be the best approach for you. The best place to learn about design thinking is at On the DesignKit site you’ll find detailed processes you can apply and also a link to an online course you can do that will help you understand the process.

Think About Your Strengths and Resources

Sometimes you want to create a solution that is based on what resources you have available, or the specific skills you and your team have. In that case you might want to consider asset mapping as an approach.

Asset mapping looks at what physical resources and skills you have available so you can see where the strengths and opportunities are. For example, your community may have empty council property and people skilled in fitness, which leads you to set-up a community gym to improve the health of your whanau.

Asset mapping can be done as an individual, as a team, or as a community. If you are interested in doing asset mapping with your community The Advancement Project have created a great guide to participatory asset mapping.

Copy Something That Works

It’s not always necessary to start from nothing, sometimes you can look at what has worked elsewhere and tweak it for your own context. Officially this is call benchmarking. Social entrepreneurs are generally willing to share their successes and failures so if you find a model from somewhere else that works, reach out and find out if they are willing share.

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