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Funnels. And Tunnels.

I’ve been thinking recently about Funnels. And Tunnels.

Bear with me, it’s a simple concept but an interesting one.

A Funnel has a wide mouth. It can take a lot of different things and bring them down to a few things at the end of it. A Tunnel, on the other hand, is narrow and only allows a few things to begin with.

Most people – Artists, Businessmen, Marketers – put their ideas through a Tunnel vision. Not thinking about other things, not connecting and cross-pollinating ideas, not adapting ideas elsewhere in your context.

But your imagination and your effectiveness EXPLODES when you put ideas through Funnel vision. Such as, using ideas that are outside your direct industry or work.

I love this kind of thinking. It invigorates me. And I love the ingenuity of them.

Let me give you a few examples –
Apple for their iPhone used ideas from their other devices which no other company could do very well. They took the Harddrive from iPods (small harddrives were rare at the time), internet communication from their iMacs and touch screens from iPad (iPads were already on works even before they released iPhone). Ideas from 3 totally different industries on the outset, but together in a coherent device.

Similarly, using a business model of one industry can be used in another industry. OLA and Uber’s business model is simple, let the driver’s buy the cars on EMI and the EMI can be cut directly from their earnings. The same business model can be used in Audio Equipment renting industry, by letting the small local players putting the initial investment and then using them under a Single Brand Name which pays them a dividend on their investment.

Or by observing Nature you can get ideas. Like creating automobile products is very similar to how nature works. Majority of the organisms that we know of have the same basic features – Eyes, Nose, Ears, Digestive system, etc – But the way of putting these features together changes their appearance and use for these organisms. Automobiles are also made this way. Same Engines, Same Seats, Same Front designs – but the way to combine them changes their appearance and features, allowing them to charge differently for almost the same product!

It’s an eye opener when you start looking at the world through the lens of combining, adapting and remixing things together. That’s what Funnel vision is about.

But there’s also a catch. If you’re not careful you can get stuck onto the ideation part only. You have to put all of those ideas through the funnel, so that at the end you do get only the best ones at disposal.

So enjoy the noticing concepts outside of your industry and see how you can use them in your work.

Published in On Business

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