Focus on Opportunity

The best way to spot opportunity is to look for it.  It’s about getting into the right mindset. Literally focusing your attention on opportunity or as Heidi Grant, a social psychologist who researches the science of motivation says, get a promotion focus. If you focus on the challenges, pitfalls or barriers then those are what you will find. If you put your energy into looking for your big shot at success then that’s what you will achieve.

Write it Down and Share it.

Create a journal that details how you can achieve your objectives. Writing down your goals helps you to clarify ideas and focus your attention on priorities. Research in this area demonstrates that writing down your goals, how you intend to achieve them and sharing them with a friend increases your chances of success.

Meet New and Different People

Meet new people who are not like you.  It’s hard to develop diverse or innovative ideas when you are surrounded by the same kind of thinking or the same influences. She suggests that you map out your habitual footpath. How predictable are you.  Are you going to the same place? Are you doing the same things?

Tanya Menon, organizational psychologist and author suggests that you take a look at your social search engine.  It’s probably very predictable. She suggests that you fight your filtres and seek out people with whom you are not inclined to talk. See who you don’t want to see.  Connect with whom you don’t want to connect; make yourself feel “scratchy”. Opportunity makers are actively seeking relationships with people unlike them. Unexpected things will evolve.

Where do you find opportunity?

If you don’t have an idea, don’t sit passively by and hope that opportunity runs across your path.  Go looking for it in places where it is likely to be percolating.

  • Trending demographics such as the ageing of the population

  • Different or changing workforce requirements

  • Outsourcing, gig economy, contract models

  • Globalization

  • Trends or shifts in priorities such as health care and fitness

  • Development of new technologies and the Internet of Things

  • Social networking, cloud computing

  • Increasing use of mobile phones

  • New forms of entertainment.

Validating Opportunity

Once you’re on to a great idea, then make sure that it’s actually worth doing. Start by looking at your potential audience but also make sure you understand what is currently happening in the market. Pilot the idea or gather more information about the potential of your concept. The piloting process allows you to find challenges that may not be apparent until the idea is in use. You may also discover other ideas as a consequence of the testing process.

  • Do a trial of the idea with a small group.

  • Consider volunteering to see if you like the work you are contemplating.

  • Talk to potential customers about what they would find valuable.

  • Are there similar products or services?

  • How prolific are competitors?

  • How does the idea compare for cost or quality?

  • Are others moving in this direction?

Spotting ideas is both an art and a science but you are in the driver’s seat and you have to make it happen. Read more about spotting opportunity is this blog post.