Dr Albert Szent-Gyeorgyi said that. Dr Szent-Gyeorgyi was a physiologist who won the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1937. He said this when he learned about research by Professor Richard Kuhn (Chemistry Nobel Laureate 1938) which demonstrated how plants produce and store energy using sunlight to make the sugar they need for growth.
This quote, very simply, is about new ideas and how they come to be. By thinking what nobody has thought, you are able to create something different; something that gives birth to an idea or solution which nobody previously considered.
This could mean many things in the context of product development for example :
- a new product or service, perhaps one with a different purpose or function from current offerings;
- evolution to an existing product, which enhances the customer experience;
- significant changes to how products are made in order to make them cheaper, faster or better quality.
The point is, new product development has been around for a long time, but the ideas from which products are developed have changed over time. Innovation is what gives birth to a new idea or solution.
The context of product development is just one example.
Before looking at the different ways in which ideas are conceived, it is important to examine how an idea or solution is given birth.
In order for a new idea or solution to come about, there must be a need to do so. In other words, there needs to be a problem. It is only after a problem has been identified that people start to think of ways to solve it.