How public policy guidelines and laws can help you to stimulate ideas.

by Daniel O'Connor

There are ideas staring you right in the face.


There are ideas hiding in plain sight.


We have talked about stimulating your own ideas. We have talked about how easy it is to generate ideas from your peers, events, and from your own life experience.


Perhaps we can share one avenue that is chock-full of ideas!




Official public plans, guidelines and policies

This is one place that I’m always very encouraged to look at to source ideas. Let’s paint a picture and give an example.

Think of the Sustainable Development Goals from the UN. This should be your bible in leading you towards good sustainability ideas because it’s essentially an international list that says ‘here’s every area for improvement in regards to the environment, social justice, and the economy’. Perfect!

These are all pain points! These are the red flags to innovators.

If you don’t even know where to start in creating your sustainable project, the SDGs are a rich source of content and will stimulate your brain cells in a wonderful way. Everything you need to be thinking about is in there! Biodiversity, energy, resources, social injustice etc.

It’s a wide playing field for you to start developing ideas. Look at all the goals and focus in on the ones that most interest you. If you feel particularly drawn to one area, let it marinate and spend some time intentionally thinking about it.


Fine-tuning your attention- here's the gold!

If you’ve managed to pick a particular area of interest, you’re now going to need to fine-tune your interest and knowledge. You can start by looking at all of the leading organisations, institutions, businesses, universities, and leaders. You can find their sustainable development strategies and action plans and even see how they’ve aligned with the SDGs.

When you find these strategies, you will see that they’re quite transparent about what they’re planning over the next few years and what initiatives they want to bring about to support sustainable development. Each one of those initiatives is a goal, it’s the organisation saying to you ‘here are the problems we are having and how we are going to try and fix them’.


The gold mine for ideas

This is a gold mine because they’re telling you (the innovator,  the entrepreneur) that they’re going to put serious time, money, and resources into fixing these issues. If you can come up with a service, product, or idea that helps them on that journey, you know that you’ve got 1 potential customer right there.

Now, imagine you find 30 sustainable development strategies, and from reading them all you start to see common issues between different organisations, you’ve just gathered the evidence that says ‘organisations are experiencing this problem and it’s worth coming up with a solution to help them’.


Where to find even more evidence

If you want to gather even more substantial evidence or stimulation for your idea area, look at what laws and policies the Government are planning to bring in over the next few years, and shape your ideas around them.

Here’s an example. Back in 2001, I was studying Clean Technology at Newcastle University in the UK. At the same time, it was announced that a new law was coming in to stop companies from landfilling waste electronics (WEEE). This presented an overnight problem for businesses, who then had to find a compliance scheme or company to help them deal with their waste electronics. This has grown into a large industry.

In Queensland, Australia, they’ve just announced they will be introducing the same law, so there’s an immediate opportunity there to set up businesses that support electronics reuse and recycling.



What we are saying is that company policies, sustainable development strategies, and government guidelines and plans are already available to look at right now! These major players are telling you what the areas of interest are, where they will be spending money in the future. You just have to begin exploring these themes and coming up with ideas that can help.


If you want to know more about generating and validating ideas,  join our free 6 week training series right here.

Join Us


You may also like

Joseph Kennedy
by Joseph Kennedy

Webinar: How to Generate and Curate Ideas with Mark Shayler and Daniel O'Connor

Some ideas come in the thick of the night... Some take years to marinade..... Or some never arrive! If you want help generating and curating ideas Mark and Daniel will be hosting an idea generation and curation webinar on..

Read more
Joseph Kennedy
by Joseph Kennedy

How to Generate Ideas from Email News Rings, Message Board, and LinkedIn Groups

To develop solutions, you need to define what people are having issues with. One brilliant source of ideas is in relevant forums and pages where people are asking questions about sustainability issues. I used to be part of an..

Read more


Popular Post