From Traditional to Online Methods for Generating Business Ideas



The traditional methods for generating venture ideas are in use for more than 70 years in the business, while the development of information and communication technologies (ICT) opened new opportunities for generating and harvesting business ideas, available to entrepreneurs of any kind. Our initial research discovered that there is a missing link in the academic literature between the traditional and the emerging online methods for generating business ideas and therefore, in this paper, we study the traditional and online sources and methods in parallel. The purpose of our study is to improve the venture idea creation process from an applicable perspective, and to add to the existing ideation literature by (1) identifying and classifying the sources of ideas to create the necessary link between the onsite and online access to idea sources; (2) explaining the traditional methods for generating business idea trough their dominant features in order to (3) further identify and elaborate the online sources and ideation methods trough these features and link them to the known traditional approaches. The sources, methods, and tools we examine and elaborate in this paper could be used for both, generating ideas for traditional and online business models. Hence, our findings have practical and applicable value for the first step in the entrepreneurial process. Additionally, our study could be used as a starting point for further research in the field of online ideation, a field that needs to be yet, more extensively, addressed by practitioners and research scholars.

Full Text:



Artemova, T. (2018, January 6). 11 creative ways to generate great business ideas. IStartHub.

Asanuma, T., Ujiie, Y., Koichiro, S. A., & Matsuoka, Y. (2011). Classification of Idea Generation Methods for Design Based on Multispace Design Model. Bulletin of Japanese Society for the Science of Design, 58, 11–20. (2020, August 12). What is Problem Solving?

Ayele, W. Y. (2020). Adapting CRISP-DM for Idea Mining: A Data Mining Process for Generating Ideas Using a Textual Dataset. International Journal of Advanced Computer Sciences and Applications, 11, 20–32.

Baron, R. A. (2006). Opportunity recognition as pattern recognition: How entrepreneurs “connect the dots” to identify new business opportunities. Academy of management perspectives, 20, 104–119.

Besant, H. (2016). The journey of brainstorming. Journal of Transformational Innovation, 2, 1–7.

Bhave, M. P. (1994). A process model of entrepreneurial venture creation. Journal of business venturing, 9, 223–242. (2020, August 6). Generating online business ideas. (2020b, July 22). Testing Your Online Business Idea(s).

Birkinshaw, J., Bouquet, C., & Barsoux, J. L. (2011). The 5 myths of innovation. MIT Sloan management review, 4, 1–8.

Burns, P. (2017). New venture creation: a framework for entrepreneurial start-ups. Palgrave.

Business Wire. (2020, January 25). HSB Survey Finds One-Third of Small Businesses Accept Cryptocurrency. Business Wire.

Cannon, H. M., Carroll, P. G., & Seamons, B. L. (1993). Using the Idea Fisher idea generation system as a decision support system in marketing strategy courses. Developments in Business Simulation and Experiential Learning: Proceedings of the Annual ABSEL conference, 20.

Clayton, S. A. (2019, December 16). SWOT Analysis Planning Tool for Solopreneurs. Solopreneur Academy.

Creative Education Foundation. (2015). Creative problem-solving tools and techniques resource guide.

Culnan, M. J., McHugh, P. J., & Zubillaga, J. I. (2010). How large US companies can use Twitter and other social media to gain business value. MIS Quarterly Executive, 9.

Dam, R., & Siang, T. (2018). What is design thinking and why is it so popular. Interaction Design Foundation.

Davies, M. (2010). Concept mapping, mind mapping and argument mapping: what are the differences and do they matter?. Higher education, 62, 279–301.

De Bono, E. (1971). The use of lateral thinking. Penguin.

De Bono, E., & Zimbalist, E. (1970). Lateral thinking. Penguin London.

Deakins, D., & Whittam, G. (2000). Business start-up: theory, practice and policy. Enterprise and Small Business Principles. Practice and Policy, 115–131.

Dey, L., Haque, S. M., Khurdiya, A., & Shroff, G. (2011). Acquiring competitive intelligence from social media. In MOCR_AND '11: Proceedings of the 2011 joint workshop on multilingual OCR and analytics for noisy unstructured text data (Art. No. 3, pp. 1–9).

Dyer, J. H., Gregersen, H. B., & Christensen, C. M. (2009). The innovator’s DNA. Harvard Business Review, 87.

Enkel, E., & Gassmann, O. (2010). Creative imitation: exploring the case of cross-industry innovation. R&d Management, 40, 256–270.

Frankenberger, K., & Stam, W. (2019). Entrepreneurial copycats: A resource orchestration perspective on the link between extra-industry business model imitation and new venture growth. Long Range Planning, 53(4),

Gabrielsson, J., & Politis, D. (2012). Work experience and the generation of new business ideas among entrepreneurs. International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, 18(1) 48-74.

Gallupe, R. B., Cooper, W. H., Grisé, M.-L., & Bastianutti, L. M. (1994). Blocking electronic brainstorms. Journal of Applied Psychology, 79, 77.

Gallupe, R. B., Dennis, A. R., Cooper, W. H., Valacich, J. S., Bastianutti, L. M., & Nunamaker Jr, J. F. (1992). Electronic brainstorming and group size. Academy of Management Journal, 35, 350–369.

Gerlach, S., & Brem, A. (2017). Idea management revisited: A review of the literature and guide for implementation. International Journal of Innovation Studies, 1, 144–161.

Girotra, K., Terwiesch, C., & Ulrich, K. T. (2010). Idea generation and the quality of the best idea. Management science, 56(4), 591–605. 10.1287/mnsc.1090.1144

Google Search (2020). Brainstorming Software.

Google Search (2020b). Business Ideas.

Griffin, D. (2010, July 10). SWOT Analysis of an Entrepreneur. Small Business.

Han, J., Han, J., & Brass, D. J. (2014). Human capital diversity in the creation of social capital for team creativity. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 35, 54–71.

Hanington, B., & Martin, B. (2019). Universal Methods of Design Expanded and Revised: 125 Ways to Research Complex Problems, Develop Innovative Ideas and Design Effective Solutions. Rockport Publishers.

Hossain, M., & Kauranen, I. (2015). Crowdsourcing: a comprehensive literature review. Strategic Outsourcing: An International Journal, 8(1), 2-22.

Howe, J. (2006). The rise of crowdsourcing. Wired Magazine.

Hsu, C. C., & Sandford, B. A. (2007). The Delphi technique: making sense of consensus. Practical Assessment, Research, and Evaluation, 12, 10.

Huurinainen, J., Torkkeli, M., Viskari, S., & Salmi, P. (2006). Motives, Circumstances and Driving Forces for Open Innovation: Using Open Source to run profitable business: case: Nokia 770 (analysis at product level): case: IBM (analysis at company level). Lappeenranta University of Technology.

Ideanote (2020). Pricing.

Jaakkola, E. (2020). Designing conceptual articles: four approaches. AMS Review, 10, 18–26. doi:

Jun, S.-P., Yoo, H. S., & Choi, S. (2018). Ten years of research change using Google Trends: From the perspective of big data utilizations and applications. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 130, 69–87.

Koen, P., Ajamian, G., Burkart, R., Clamen, A., Davidson, J., D'Amore, R., Elkins, C., Herald, K., Incorvia, M., Johnson, A., Karol, R., Seibert, R., Slavejkov A., & Wagner, K. (2001). Providing clarity and a common language to the “fuzzy front end”. Research-Technology Management, 44, 46–55.

Kornish, L. J., & Ulrich, K. T. (2014). The importance of the raw idea in innovation: Testing the sow's ear hypothesis. Journal of Marketing Research, 51, 14–26.

Kotler, P., & Armstrong, G. (2010). Principles of marketing. Pearson Education.

Kruse, P., Schieber, A., Hilbert, A., & Schoop, E. (2013). Idea mining–text mining supported knowledge management for innovation purposes.

Lee, W. S., & Sohn, S. Y. (2019). Discovering emerging business ideas based on crowdfunded software projects. Decision Support Systems, 116, 102–113.

Macdonald, M. (2020, July 8). The 17 Best Places Ecommerce Entrepreneurs Go to Find Product Ideas. Shopify.

Maiden, N., Jones, S., Karlsen, K., Neill, R., Zachos, K., & Milne, A. (2010). Requirements engineering as creative problem solving: A research agenda for idea finding. In 18th IEEE International Requirements Engineering Conference (pp. 57–66).

Maplesden, P. (2016, September 28). Here’s How to Uncover Your Next Great Business Idea.

Martin, R., & Martin, R. L. (2009). The design of business: Why design thinking is the next competitive advantage. Harvard Business Press.

McKelvie, A., & Wiklund, J. (2004). How knowledge affects opportunity discovery and exploitation among new ventures in dynamic markets. In J. E. Butler (Ed.), Opportunity identification and entrepreneurial behavior (pp. 219–239), Information Age Publishing.

Merriam-Webster (2020, August 7). 'Deduction' vs. 'Induction' vs. 'Abduction'.

Michinov, N. (2012). Is electronic brainstorming or brainwriting the best way to improve creative performance in groups? An overlooked comparison of two idea-generation techniques. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 42, E222–E243.

Microsoft. (2020, August15). Flowchart Maker & Diagramming Software, Microsoft Visio.

Mycoted. (2020, August 10). Free Association.

Nesta UK. (2015, February 3). DIY Toolkit: Fast Idea Generator. Vimeo.

Newell, A., Simon, H. A., et al. (1972). Human problem solving. Prentice-Hall - Englewood Cliffs.

Nickerson, J. A., Silverman, B. S., & Zenger, T. R. (2007). The problem of creating and capturing value. Strategic Organization, 5, 211–225.

OpenideaL (2020). Product & Features - OpenideaL - Ideas and innovation management platform. OpenideaL.

Orr, G., & Roth, E. (2012). A CEO’s guide to innovation in China. McKinsey Quarterly, 1, 74–83.

Paulus, P. B., & Kenworthy, J. B. (2019). Effective brainstorming. Handbook of Group Creativity. Innovation Through Collaboration, 287–386.

Penny, B. (2020, January 23). Top 10 Product Review Websites. Thought for your penny.

Peterson, S., Jaret, P., & Schenck, B. F. (2020). How to Generate a Successful Business Idea. Dummies.

Pinsonneault, A., Barki, H., Gallupe, R. B., & Hoppen, N. (1999). Electronic brainstorming: The illusion of productivity. Information Systems Research, 10, 110–133.

Poetz, M. K., & Schreier, M. (2012). The value of crowdsourcing: can users really compete with professionals in generating new product ideas? Journal of Product Innovation Management, 29, 245–256.

Riani, A. (2019, January 9). How to Leverage Your Skills to Start a Side Business.

Rochford, L. (1991). Generating and screening new products ideas. Industrial Marketing Management, 20(4), 287–296.

Sandstrom, C., & Bjork, J. (2010). Idea management systems for a changing innovation landscape. International Journal of Product Development, 11, 310–324.

Sanket, D. S., Ankit, G. P., Viraj, G. V., Nisha, R. M., & Mahesh, S. R. (2012). I-Query Solver. International Journal of Electronics, Communication and Soft Computing Science & Engineering, 2, 79.

Sedniev, A. (2013). The Business Idea Factory: A World-Class System for Creating Successful Business Ideas. CreateSpace.

Shane, S. (2000). Prior knowledge and the discovery of entrepreneurial opportunities. Organization Science, 11, 448–469.

Siroker, D., & Koomen, P. (2013). A/B testing: The most powerful way to turn clicks into customers. John Wiley & Sons.

Škerlavaj, M., Černe, M., & Dysvik, A. (2014). I get by with a little help from my supervisor: Creative-idea generation, idea implementation, and perceived supervisor support. The Leadership Quarterly, 25, 987–1000.

Software Advice (2020). Idea Management Software. Software Advice.

Think with Google (2020). Competitive analysis tools. Think with Google.

Thomason, C. (2016). The Idea Generator: 15 Clever Thinking Tools to Create Winning Ideas Quickly. FT Press.

Vandenbosch, B., Saatcioglu, A., & Fay, S. (2006). Idea management: a systemic view. Journal of Management Studies, 43, 259–288.

Vesper, K. H. (1990). New venture strategies. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's Academy for entrepreneurial leadership historical research reference in entrepreneurship.

Vogel, P. (2017). From venture idea to venture opportunity. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 41, 943–971.

Wanless, G. (2017, February 20). Top 5 Survey Tools to Help Survey Your Target Audience. Digital Branding Institute.

Weinstein, B. (2004, November 18). 10 Great Ways to Generate Business Ideas. Entrepreneur.

Writtenhouse, S. (2020, July 6). The 10 Best Idea Generators to Brainstorm Story and Business Ideas. Makeuseof.

YEC - The Young Entrepreneur Council. (2019, Mart 14). 7 Online Groups Entrepreneurs Should Consider Joining. Small Business Trends.

Zwilling, M. (2018, April 11). How to Start the Right Business to Match Your Skills and Interests.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2021 Management Dynamics in the Knowledge Economy

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

© Faculty of Management (SNSPA)

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under CC BY-NC

The opinions expressed in the papers published are the authors’ own and do not necessarily express the views of the editors of this journal. The authors assume all responsibility for the ideas expressed in the materials published.

ISSN 2392-8042 (online)