5 Ideas that Seemed Stupid At First

5 Ideas that Seemed Stupid At First

03 June 2014

Over the coming weeks, the Trust will be running a series of Idea Generation Workshops. Here we look at how no idea can be a bad idea...

For the most part, only ideas that we recognise as ‘good’ ever make it past the initial concept stage. However, we found these 5 ideas that once seemed very stupid indeed, but that went on to be big success stories. 

  1. In 1998 a company secured $4.8million in funding to send money via ‘Palm Pilots’. This idea was going to allow people to transfer money when there was no cash, chequebook or ATMs in the area.

    But it did rely on both parties remembering their Palm Pilots. It may not have seemed like the most logical starting point, but this company is now called PayPal and by 2011 they were processing $2000 of payments every second. 
  1. Norway came up with a new prison system which, rather than working on the general confinement and restriction basis, actually allowed their prisoners a lot of freedom.

    Convicted criminals have access to a cinema, tanning beads, football, horse riding, BBQs and even a ski jump. Surprisingly this scheme has worked very well, with Norway enjoying an incredibly low recidivism rate. 
  1. Wayne Huizenga is an entrepreneur who has managed to create three Fortune 500 companies from very humble ideas. The first, a waste collection business, was going up against competition from well established companies in a flooded industry.

    He turned it into a multi-billion dollar global operation – Waste Management Inc. His second company, renting DVDs through branded outlets, was entering a low retail yield market yet Blockbuster Inc., which you have probably heard of, did pretty well too. 
  1. Who would need an adhesive reminder note? Not very many people in the late-60s it would seem as this is when the Post-It Note was actually thought up.

    It took until the mid-70s for 3M to commit to the idea and then another 5 years to design and build the machines to make the product. 
  1. When Nintendo announced that their latest games console was going to be called the ‘Wii’ it did raise many eyebrows. But it worked and this turned into the best-selling games console this generation has seen, with its nearly-impossible-to-forget title. 

To find out more about the Trust’s Ideas Generation Workshops, and to register, please click here.

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