Getting ideas for a new business is a never-ending obsession for entrepreneurs. I always have a few going in my head - and I suspect other entrepreneurs do the same. If I'm building a business I don't have time to follow through on new ideas; but when I'm in between businesses I track, research, noodle, and flesh out new ideas that show promise. By promise I mean that the idea passes my good idea test. That is: a) is it hard to do - so that others can't easily copy it, b) does it solve a real problem that people (lots of them) have, and c) is it patented, or able to be patented? This simple sniff test is a good idea parser. If the idea fails this simple sniff test, I throw it away and keep working. It's not worth the time to flesh out an idea that starts with this handicap.
But how do you find ideas? For me it's a bit serendipitous. I read alot - especially tech publications like Wired, and Business 2.0 (now part of CNN, and not nearly as cool)- but also lots of blogs and podcasts. These are ripe playgrounds of ideas.
For instance, I got an idea (which I am still noodling) from a PodTech podcast some months ago. It was an offhanded comment by one of the guests that started me down a path I'm still on. And today, I found an interesting blog post by Mark Cuban (formerly of Broadcast.com, and now the owner of the Dallas Mavericks). This post is full of interesting ideas that could become businesses. There are ideas everywhere.