An innovative idea really can change the world. Whether it’s rethinking how we source our power or how we communicate with one another; innovation requires revolutionary ideas. Shell Ideas360 is about those truly innovative ideas that reshape our relationship with food, energy and water, but to get there, all ideas need to be developed, refined and tested.

So, we’ve compiled a list of quick tips to help you hone your idea and make sure it’s ready to face the judges in Stage 2.

  1. Seek inspiration

Uber. Spotify. Netflix. Airbnb. Some of the most innovative and well-respected companies today once looked at our relationship with products and services; transport, accommodation, music, entertainment and saw one unnecessary constant: ownership. By switching to an access-focused model, these companies revolutionised their industries and have rethought a fundamental relationship with our resources. Take for example the Shell supported start-up, Gravity Light, which developed an affordable and safe light powered with just a bag of rocks, to help communities with no access to electricity.

What else could be redefined by an idea? These companies are innovative in so many ways and taking inspiration from top industry players could be the key to unlocking potential in your idea and helping you wow the judges.

  1. Ask an expert

University is a time dedicated to expanding your mind and learning from others. We’re not expected to know everything, which is why mentors are so important during this process. Shell Ideas360 provides you with a mentor to help you refine and build the next layer of detail to your idea. They have a lifetime of business knowledge and experience to share, which is invaluable when preparing for the next round of judging. They have experience in risk analysis, strategy, project management and stakeholder liaison, which are often difficult to gain experience in before entering the job market. 

  1. Get a second opinion

When you work on an idea for what can feel like forever, it’s hard to take a step back and think differently. That’s why it’s so important to stress-test with friends, family and anyone who will listen! By taking people through your idea, it encourages them to ask questions you may never have considered but could be exactly what the judges will ask. This gives you the opportunity to predict their questions and develop your idea, leaving no stone unturned. Stress-testing with others could also highlight any weak spots and gives you the chance to further refine your idea, so it’s the best it can be before facing the judges. 

  1. Find a creative space

If you hit a creative barrier, try getting away from your desk. Our imaginations are formed by our experiences. Don’t limit yourself to inspiration only from your bedroom window, or the dusty shelves of the library. To come up with new ideas or to develop the ones we have, our minds need the stimulation of new places, sights, and experiences. Go hiking, or to a gallery. Do a new activity, or just go somewhere you’ve never been before. It’s only natural to think differently when you have fresh inspiration, you never know where some fresh thinking could take your idea.

If you follow these four simple steps, you could put yourself in a great position to present the best version of your idea at the end of stage 2. You’ll find fresh inspiration, learn from the experts and know how to question your own thinking, so you don’t miss a thing

This article has been adapted from Head Engineer at Shell TechWorks Boston David Kordonowy’s webinar “What makes an idea brilliant?”