Creativity techniques for product/service development

Creative product and service development is about developing creative ideas, concepts, and solutions and converting them into products and services through the product design and development processes. Prototypes are models of a product or service and can help a new technology venture to learn about the right form of the product for the customer.

The creative process involves critical thinking and problem-solving skills. From songwriters to television producers, creative individuals generally go through five steps to bring their ideas to fruition: preparation, incubation, illumination, evaluation, and verification.


There are five stages that most creators follow while developing creative idea, products, and services. The five stages of the creative process each flow logically into the next phase of the process.


Stage 1: Preparation stage - generation

This is when you gather materials and conduct research that could spark an interesting idea. Brainstorm and let your mind wander or write in a journal to foster divergent thinking; this will help you consider all possible approaches to building out your idea. In this first part of the process, your brain is using its memory bank to draw on knowledge and past experiences to generate original ideas.

Stage 2: Incubation stage – flesh it out

The second stage is where you take a step away from your idea before you sit down to flesh it out. Walking away from your idea might seem counterproductive, but it is an important stage of the process. During this time, your idea and problem are incubating in the back of your mind.


Stage 3: Illumination stage – your aha moment!

In this stage the light bulb clicks on as spontaneous new connections are formed and all the material you gathered comes together to present the solution to your problem. In this third stage, the answer to your creative quest strikes you. For example, just as a writer will overcome their writer’s block by figuring out the ending to their story, then your new solution will crystalise.


Stage 4: Evaluation stage – validation

During this stage, you consider the validity of your idea and weigh it against alternatives. This is also a time of reflection when you look back at your initial concept or problem to see if your solution aligns with your initial vision. Solopreneurs might do market research to test the viability of the idea. During this phase, you might go back to the ‘drawing board’, or you might move on with the development of your ideas, product, or service concept, confident in what you have come up with.


Stage 5: Verification stage – making it real

This is the final stage of the creative process. It is when the hard work happens. Your creative product might be a physical object, an advertising campaign, a song, a novel, an architectural design, in fact any item or object that you set out to create, propelled by that initial idea that popped into your head. Now, you finalise your design, bring your idea to life, and share it with the world.

Example 1: Exponential Training & Assessment started off as a solopreneur enterprise delivering practical management and leadership training. Soon the owner realised by talking to its customers, what they wanted was not training but practical tools and tips on how to improve performance. This inspiration transformed Exponential Training’s courses and course materials into a series of ‘how to tips and techniques’ workshops which was different from anything else being offered by competitors.

Example 2: Taskerly is a solopreneur enterprise providing virtual agency services to other solopreneurs. The owner soon realised there was a gap in the market to support and train virtual assistants and therefore Taskerly created a simple training course which also helped them to recruit an international network of trained virtual assistant to which they could outsource work.


As a solopreneur, engaging a Business Coach, or Online Business Manager, or joining (or creating) a mastermind is a great way to leverage support and creative thinking for your business without hiring costly employees. Collaborations with other business owners are also a great idea. Book a coffee date with someone in your network to chat and see where it may go. You never know where a little caffeine and chit chat may lead.
MyVA Project number: 2020-1-SE01-KA226-VET-092491
This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. 
The European Commission's support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents, which reflect the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.
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