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How to Come Up With an App Idea That Will Succeed in 2023

Table of contents
The Idea Comes First Why Now? Know Your Mission Get Inspired by Your Audience Think Through Different Options for Market Development Important Brainstorming Tips What Goes Next After Coming Up With an App Idea? Don’t Refuse Raw Concepts Main Challenges You Will Face When Coming up With App Ideas Transfer Your App Idea Into Life

The process of generating an idea for a mobile application is similar to the process of generating ideas in general, so in this article, we will talk about the general process of idea creation, how important ideas are, and how to work with them. In particular, we’ll delve more into the topic of ideas for mobile applications.

To build a successful company, you need 4 key elements: a great idea, a great product, a great team, and great execution. How to come up with an app idea

Brainstorm, get inspired, conduct market analysis, and many more tips Devlight will share with you.

In any case, there always exists a chance that your project will fail because, as luck will have it — there are no guarantees of success regardless of the quality of your idea implementation. Therefore, the formula for the final result looks something like this:

where luck is a random number between zero and ten thousand. Even if you succeed in all four parts, you can be sure of your moderate success. The rest will be an equally terrifying yet exciting journey of coincidences. So, come what may but let’s start with what depends on us — how to develop an app idea that people will love.

The Idea Comes First: How to Come Up With an App Idea

The first element of success is the idea. You have heard the saying: “A good idea by itself does not mean anything.” To be true, even thinking about your idea for months and years still doesn’t guarantee success. You are expected to make a decisive start, work, and actively use the trial and error method without realizing your idea’s value and viability.

There is some truth in this whole approach. It is quite impossible to predict the development of projects, especially before you hand your product over to your customers and wait for real-life feedback. Implementing a specific product is 10 times more important and 100 times more difficult than initially coming up with app ideas. Provide the team with dozens of ideas, but how many of them can and will be realized? 

Understanding the Concept

If we are talking about it, the definition of the very phenomenon of an idea is rather blurred. It includes the size and growth rate of the market, the company’s growth strategy, defensive strategy, etc. When evaluating ideas, you need to think about it all, not just the product. If everything goes well, you will be working on this project for a good 10 years, so thinking about the value proposition of your business beforehand will not hurt.

Finally, formulate the core of your idea, which you can develop further. Nevertheless, remember that unique ideas practically do not exist. Your idea must be good enough to build a sustainable business, not one-of-its-kind. Wait for the moment when you are ready to commit yourself to work on a certain, even not new, concept, then launch your company.

The way to get app ideas is not to try to think of app ideas. It’s to look for problems, preferably problems you have yourself. The very best app ideas tend to have three things in common: they’re something the founders themselves want, that they themselves can build, and that few others realize are worth doing. This approach can be used to select ideas for further implementation. If you have several spheres that inspire you at once, work on the one that occupies your mind most of the time (including non-work life).

Come Up With an App Idea: Why Now?

The question “Why now?” explains the need to work with certain ideas in a selected period of time. The answer lies in understanding why it was impossible to do all this, for example, a few years ago or vice versa — after a few years from the current moment.

In general, the best approach is trying to solve your current problem within the framework of a startup. Thus, you will have a fairly good understanding of the problem at first, and the quality of your prototype will be much higher than if you focused solely on the customer’s opinion. 

The second case means solving someone else’s problem and requires detailed consideration of your customers’ thoughts. To do this, you can immerse yourself in their work environment, if there is such an opportunity, or simply try to get as much information from them as possible by communicating several times during the day.

You should always be able to communicate your idea as easily as possible to others. If you need more than one sentence to explain what you do, it’s a sign that your business is too complicated. This may not be obvious at first glance, but conveying your vision using the minimum number of words is key. 

How to Come Up With an App Idea? Know Your Mission

If you look at this issue from another angle, successful companies always focus on their mission. A significant concentration of effort is needed for the effective operation of any team. Bearing an important mission in mind helps the team focus better and have a feeling of belonging.

Attracting external support is another advantage of coming up with ideas built around a certain mission. It’s much easier to receive support when working on a complex and very important project rather than just something derivative. Take something fundamental as a basis. It seems illogical to many, but it will help you stay honest and not exaggerate the importance of your mission.

Derivative projects that copy existing businesses without bringing about any innovations aren’t interesting to people from an emotional point of view. Unfortunately, such companies fail to motivate the project team to give their full commitment.

Get Inspired by Your Audience

Many business owners make the mistake of developing the product they would personally like and only then move on to finding an audience for it. You should do everything the other way around. Analyze the market, ensure an audience is seeking a product like yours, and then proceed to development. 

Listen to people, follow changing needs, and identify trends. By understanding the demand, you will be able to provide a suitable offer. Decide for what purpose the audience member will install and use the mobile application. Find tasks that provide the achievement of this goal. Here are a few examples of such tasks you can use when coming up with app ideas:

  • Easy navigation. The client should be able to search, adjust, set preferred parameters, and share depending on the niche;
  • Personal account. Enable the client to have their personal space inside the app where they can change the settings, profile photo, and enter all the preferred details;
  • News and notifications. Make the app interactive so that the client will receive notifications and promotions;
  • Customer support. Modern apps operate in a human-like way and involve real people in chats, user interactions, and timely help.

How to Come Up With an App Idea: Think Through Different Options for Market Development

Turn your attention to those market niches that demonstrate significant potential growth within the framework of the next decade. Most investors today are too meticulous in assessing the size of the market and completely forget about forecasting its development. They think about the growth of separate projects but forget to consider the market’s growth. 

A significant advantage of working with a small market niche is the high demand for solutions to current customer problems. People are often ready to use an absolutely imperfect product when guaranteed that it will be updated over time. How to come up with an app idea to revolutionize the global market? Unfortunately, creating niches that have not yet been formed with a single product is impossible. Thus, you will need to make sure of the presence and projected growth of the niche market you plan to work with.


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How to Come Up With an App Idea: Important Brainstorming Tips

  • Find a Problem to Solve With an App

It is important for your project to provide benefits for users and solve problems that other similar applications cannot cope with. How to come up with an app idea to fix a specific pain point? Think over personal experience. What sphere you are confident about? It can be your hobby (sports, reading) or routine activity (parenthood, self-motivation) — invent an app that improves this aspect of your life. By implementing such an application, you win significant success chances.

  • Improve and Adapt an Existing Mobile App

You can improve the performance of an existing project or adapt it to a new audience. Dating apps are a good example: they were derived from generalist sites, but now you can find a dating app for almost any niche.

  • Browse Through the App Store

If something is particularly popular, then that’s a good indicator you should pay attention to it. Paul Graham said, “The only way you can avoid competition is by avoiding good ideas.” How to come up with an app idea inspired by the market platform? Explore different apps and their reviews to know where to direct effort.

  • Keep an Eye on Investments in Tech Projects

There is an opinion that if you create a successful application, then large companies will “steal” your idea and do better because of owning bigger financial capabilities. It’s not like that at all. In fact, large IT companies are open to new developments and sometimes support individual developers and small studios in every possible way. You can reach out to them with your app idea or watch which projects share the most market investments.

  • Find an Industry That Lacks Recent Innovations

If you think about what you have to do every day, you will realize how many problems still have to be solved: parking, groceries, hobbies, and education. So many niches still lack quality apps that would make people’s lives easier. Consider which question is most relevant to you. Here is the finished idea for the application.

  • Copy Others’ Ideas and Localize Them for Your Market

Many interesting applications are a combination of two completely unrelated fields. Uber for groceries is Instacart. GetAround is Airbnb for cars. Practice connecting the unconnectable! Not giving up is vital for coming up with app ideas that will revolutionize the world.

  • Ask Potential Users

The essence of any idea is to create a project that will definitely hit the audience. Even if the idea is not unique and applications with such an idea already exist, you can always add more “zest.” Focus on the users to make a project that will surpass all competitors.

  • Spend Time Brainstorming

Why don’t you offer your team some brainstorming games to spend time together in an interesting and useful way? Many startup owners confess they got their startup idea during a party or social gathering. Friends can tell you about their daily problems, the solution for which can be found in the new application. And you know what is the most useful thing in all this? You will immediately have a few first users!

  • Check the Keywords

Google your idea and study the topics associated with it. How one concept leads to another. You can also hire an SEO specialist or use some free tools like Semrush or Ahrefs for immediate keyword insights. Such recommendations can help you delve deeper into the niche if you are unsure about the app features or target audience. Even reading forums will come in handy.

  • Attend Meetups and Hackathons

Connect with your potential users by attending their natural habitat. Hackathons are not just places for geeks — many creative people take part in them to get inspired and follow the latest tech trends. How to come up with an app idea? Seek solutions to your problem by sharing it with a like-minded community.

  • Identify & Acknowledge Bad Ideas

Analyze the apps you use or lack on a daily. What are their strengths and weaknesses? Have you noticed any inconveniences truly illogical to you? Have these app owners paid insufficient attention to the details important to you as a user? Sum up all the bad ideas and features you notice to know what to avoid in your project. 

  • Look Into the Future

Study the market trends and make some predictions. As an Internet user, do you feel some new niches emerging straight in front of your eyes? In case you lack professional vision, you can always turn to business analytics, whose responsibility is to look into the market’s future and help you develop the app ahead of time.

What Goes Next After Coming Up With an App Idea?

  • Idea Generation

Creating a mobile application starts with an idea. Think over your audience to imagine their pain points, problems, and solutions for them. Then, look at your competitors and figure out what will make your app better than theirs.

  • Idea Validation

There exist multiple ways to test an idea: from personal communication with potential clients to conducting a large-scale sociological study. But, under any circumstances, your actions must comply with certain stages:

  1. Define the concept of the future project (highlight the problem, describe the portrait of a potential client, form a list of hypotheses, and develop a value proposition);
  2. Set specific goals when coming up with app ideas (for example, positive feedback about a future project from 50+ potential clients);
  3. Do the research and get feedback (create a web page for a future project with a form for collecting information about interested users, conduct a large-scale mailing of a questionnaire, or create an MVP product).
  • App Discovery Phase

The discovery phase is a process of gathering information that gives an evaluation of the industry for which the product is being developed. It is important to understand the expectations of end users regarding the product.

The main purpose the product discovery phase can bring to your company is that it helps you to make a development roadmap, improve communication and make complex analysis and data gathering. All the details that you find out during this phase will help you determine the scope of work and time frame, but will also help ensure that the user receives a quality software product developed for their needs.

  • Funding

Raising money may run parallel to each development stage, depending on the funding strategies chosen (Pre-Seed Funding, Seed Funding, Series A, B, C, IPO, etc.). Focus on the team and professionalism of your colleagues — investors are often attracted by strong specialists. In addition to presenting the team’s hard skills, reveal your product’s essence and value. Be sure to evaluate the market and competitors and provide a forecast for growth dynamics. Think about the total amount you will need and explain it. Operate with numbers.

Where to look for investments for the application?

  1. Startup platforms (;
  2. Business incubators and accelerators (Ycombinator);
  3. Business angel networks (Angel Capital Association and Angel Investment Network);
  4. Crowdfunding (Indiegogo or Kickstarter);
  5. Networking and professional social networks (LinkedIn);
  6. Direct investment markets. Send applications to companies specializing in investing in business projects or buying business ideas in general (with full transfer of copyright). The more applications you submit, the more chances you have to sell your concept successfully;
  7. A new way to finance SaaS companies. The Pipe platform offers to pack monthly subscriptions into annual ones and sell them to investors.
  • Software Development Stage

This is where the programming phase begins, that is, the creation of the application code. At this point, the designer has already handed over to the developer a prototype of the project, where they described in detail the main desktop, buttons, and functionality. After receiving a clear technical task, the programmer begins to write code for each element. 

  • Product Scaling

This stage comes after the app’s launch. Scalability, which is critical to retaining users includes the next activities:

  • Repeating and keeping growth;
  • Boosting app retention and revenue;
  • Building loyalty & awareness;
  • Establishing a support team to ensure the success of your users.
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How to Come Up With an App Idea: Don’t Refuse Raw Concepts

Ideas may not be ideal or obvious. Most likely, they are just initial attempts to address an unusual segment of the audience and solve their problem. Good ideas are rarely perfectly implemented in the first versions of the product. At the first stages of product development, basic functionality is usually enough.

When coming up with app ideas, we give up most of them because they have many competitors or seem too simple for picky users. “Why should we reinvent the wheel?” This thought is quite dangerous since it kills creativity. Let’s not forget that MySpace once had an absolute monopoly among social networks. Who would have thought targeting students as their potential customers would give birth to what we now know as Meta just in a few years? 

Ideas that look terrible in the beginning may become the basis of success stories. You need to find a small market niche, win a leading position in it, and then start expanding the boundaries of your audience. Make a small group of customers use your product, but involve them all in the future. This is what Devlight calls moving in the right direction.

Main Challenges You Will Face When Coming up With App Ideas

Do you wonder how to come up with an app idea that will be easily implementable yet guaranteed to succeed? Unfortunately, developing a revolutionizing app always brings about challenges. Don’t expect this journey to be a bed of roses because of the following:

  • Ideas that are too innovative for their time. True visionaries can predict trends and offer solutions for problems that are only emerging. Unfortunately, users are often not ready for these ideas, so such projects fail no matter how hard you try to think over the marketing strategy, 
  • New competitors. Don’t stop analyzing the market and follow the trends as you plunge into generating ideas. Chances are you may miss some of the newly emerged players if you get too carried away by your project’s “uniqueness.”
  • Weeding out good ideas from bad ones. This is not about looking for ideas but about identifying problems or gaps in existing products or services. Ideas are hard to come by, at least good ones. But you need a lot of personal experience and tangible research data to validate worthy ideas and tell them from non-senses. 

Summary: Transfer Your App Idea Into Life

Don’t ever limit your imagination when coming up with a project idea. This stage is the most exciting part of any mobile app development because its essence lies in inspiring and getting inspired. How to come up with an app idea? All restrictions and prejudices about the project’s “freshness” are just in your head, so share, brainstorm, and carry out market analyses. 

For instance, you may realize something is missing in the app you are using regularly. This “something” is the “zest” of your idea. Thousands of other users of the same application are likely missing exactly the same function that you thought about. So, they will eagerly switch to an analog if you offer it.

What comes next? Find a development company that’s ready to take over your idea and bring it to life. Don’t ever let project concepts marinate in your imagination. Show them to the world. You can always make adjustments later.

How to Come Up With a Successful App Idea: FAQ

How to Come Up With an App Idea on a Low Budget?

Depending on the application type you want, the price can range from $15 000 to $200,000. Such a price may seem very high, but keep in mind that the profit from a successful application covers the costs several times over.

How to Turn Your App Idea Into a Product?

How to Come Up With an App Idea That Won’t Fail?

Is It Difficult to Code an App?

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