Turning Ideas into Technology

Turning Ideas into Technology

Software City’s Jeni Banks works with businesses across the North East that need support to grow or scale-up. By her own admission, she’s not a technical specialist. But she still understands how to turn a business idea into a technological reality.

Everything starts with an idea. A thought that grows into a design and is usually borne out of a problem or from trying to make a process more efficient. We've all had them and most of the time they're fleeting with no real foundation in our minds.

But occasionally we have a thought that sticks. An idea that we just can't shake. And the longer it's there, the bigger it grows until we have no choice but to make it a reality! I love these kinds of idea, they're innovative and exciting and they're the things that can change the world.

What happens when the idea involves creating some form of technology though? Unless you're a programmer or have the time and inclination to teach yourself to code, how do you go about turning your idea into reality?

More and more non-technical people are creating new and exciting technologies, usually in order to launch a new business, revolutionise their current business or even their current industry. Taking your idea to a developer can be pretty scary for a number of reasons - what if they take my idea? How do I know the price they quote is right? What questions should I be asking them? 

The most popular business support function we offer at Sunderland Software City is the fully-funded creation of a functional specification. This is the missing link between your idea as just an idea and taking the next step to turn it into reality. We have trusted technical experts we work closely with, who will sit down with you to run through your idea. They're impartial and are there to give you advice and feedback (not to up-sell functionality you might not need!).

A good developer will ask you a lot of questions about what you want your technology to do, how you want it to look, user experience, data analysis… everything! They then go away and put all the information into a substantial document called a 'functional specification', which is basically a blueprint of your idea and exactly what you want it to do. This is yours to take away and use to get realistic quotes. It's great as a project management tool and should give you an idea of the time and money it will take to create your new product. It can also help if you're looking for investment or putting together your business plan. 

The functional spec will allow you to take your idea and turn it into a new technology-enabled product, at no risk and with no tie-in. They, along with the rest of our support services, are available to SMEs across the North East LEP area. So if you've got an idea for tech but you don't know what to do with it - get in touch. We'd love to help.