Level A2, episode 117

Generating ideas

Great ideas are generated in different ways. Sometimes an idea may simply be when a company takes advantage of an opportunity to extend its product range, to offer more choice to existing customers. Or a great idea could allow a company to enter a market which was closed to it before.
Companies which are prepared to spend a lot on R&D may make a breakthrough by having an original idea for a product which others later copy, for example Apple and iPod.
On the other hand, some products are developed in response to customer research. They come from customer ideas. These products are made to meet a need, to satisfy customer demand. Or the product does something similar to another product, but faster, so it saves time. Some people will buy new products because the product raises their status – gives them a new, more upmarket image. Other people will buy any “green” product which reduces waste or protects the environment, even if it is more expensive. And if an idea is really good and the product fills a gap in the market, it may even win an award for innovation.


Ex.1 Combine the expressions from both columns to form collocations as in the text:

product           customers
existing           idea
original           image
customer        range
upmarket       research


Ex.2 Match these Polish words to their English equivalents and then complete the sentences :

popyt             breakthrough
przełom        demand
sposobność  environment
środowisko  opportunity


1. It was a great ____________ to meet this famous thinker.
2. Let’s think how to improve our working ____________.
3. The ____________ for our products is gradually falling.
4. Their new idea was a real ____________ that revolutionized the business.


Ex.3 What are the English equivalents of these words:

zaspokajać           to take advantage of
naśladować          to extend
podnosić               to copy
wykorzystywać    to satisfy
chronić                 to raise
rozszerzać            to protect


I know English idioms!

In line with this lesson’s topic let’s study an idiom based on the key word: idea.

  • to put ideas into sb’s head (= to make someone want to do something they had not thought about before, especially something stupid; wkładać coś komuś do głowy)
  • Stop putting ideas into his head – we can’t afford a new car.

Phrasals, phrasals…

When talking about ideas, especially the new ones, it is necessary to introduce this phrasal verb:

  • to come up with (= to invent; wpaść na)
  • I usually come up with best ideas when I take a shower.

Grammar corner

Let’s study these fragments from the text: “Great ideas are generated in different ways…”, “(…) some products are developed in response to customer research.” The underlined parts are examples of the passive voice (strona bierna). To recall, the passive voice structures are composed of the verb “to be” and third form of verbs. Our examples are in the present simple tense, but the passive voice can be used across a variety of tenses.


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Ex. 1

1. product range
2. existing customers
3. original idea
4. customer research
5. upmarket image

1. demand
2. breakthrough
3. opportunity
4. environment
1. opportunity
2. environment
3. demand
4. breakthrough

1. to satisfy
2. to copy
3. to raise
4. to take advantage of
5. to protect
6. to extend