Do you have an Oodie Idea lurking within you?

You’ve either seen them in on social media or you know someone who has one. Oodies are oversized, furry hoodies. They are a South Australian invention by The Davie Group, backed by 26-year-old co-founder David Fogarty and their annual turnover this year is expected to exceed $200 million.

And yet if David Fogarty came to me two years ago and asked me to invest 50,000 for a 10% share of his business, I would say no. I mean, have you seen an Oodie? They are huge, impractical and ugly. There is no patent and no IP protection. As soon as they became popular, they would be copied and released by a competitor.

As a result Fogarty and his team never rest and they continue to innovate and lead the market. He has recently done deals with Disney, Warner Brothers, Harry Potter and Star Wars and added these brands to his Oodie range. The next iteration is Oodie Ugg boots. His company is expected to be listed on the ASX next year.

So what is an Oodie Idea?

This week I facilitated an ideation session. Ideation is the third step in the design thinking process and the goal is to generate as many ideas as possible. Nothing is too wild and wacky; you want to throw the net wide and capture and collate every idea.

I asked the participants to look for Oodie ideas. An Oodie idea is like the Oddie itself: ridiculously big and ugly, but it is important not to be too quick to dismiss it as it may well go on to bring in $200 million revenue to your organisation.

People may look at Fogarty’s business and say that the Oodie is a fad and will be a flash in the pan. And they’re right. But that’s okay because Fogarty has another 250 products in development and all he needs is one of them to take hold.

Here is your challenge: are you still doing things the same way as you did last year? Maybe it’s time to shake things up a bit with an Oodie Idea.

Here are some tips for your next brainstorming session:

  1. Do Brain-writing first
    • People need to be able to collate their own ideas before they share. Research shows that brainwriting produces 20% more ideas
  2. Apply the 5 whys
    • Challenge your team with “Why are we doing it this way?”
  3. Try role-storming
    • How would you approach this problem if you were a toddler or in a wheelchair?
  4. Look for areas of upheaval
    • In every disruption, there lurks an opportunity
  5. Mash ‘em up
    • Take two products and see what happens if you put them together (after all the Oodie is a mash-up of a hoodie and a blanket)

And if you need someone to facilitate this process, I can help you with that, I’ll come wearing my Oodie!

Sharon Ferrier
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