The first step to creating any project is... and idea! Before you jump right into developing it helps to know what you're creating and how it'll look.
Elements of a good project
It's fun! (for you)
Don't go with an idea just because it will be successful or because it will look good on a resume. Choose something you would have fun seeing come to life. This way not only will you be more invested into what you're making, but you'll build out skills you will ultimately use again.
It's Simple & Modular
Project ideas should be relatively simple and composed of not too many parts along with being usable with 1-2 user flows. Generally the scope of a project should start out simple so it can be something that is eventually completed. It can grow over time and new features can always be added, but by starting small and creating a strong modular base then future additions can be completed without a problem.
Provides YOU Value
Not every project needs to change the world or be the next Facebook, Snapchat, or Instagram (especially if this is your first project). It just needs to benefit you by either: helping you learn new languages & frameworks, becoming play, or create something out of nothing. At Oasis we want to make sure you're enjoying the project you're working on, so most importantly have fun throughout the program.
[Optional] Solves a Problem
Not all projects have a precise problem or target user. People just work on them to learn or create something. However, having a problem that your project addresses can be motivating (and doubly so if there are audiences that really need it)
Sources of Inspiration
Focus on making a project that relates to what interests you! This approach makes the process way more fun as your working on something you have a vested interest in.
Ex: If you love cooking, make an app that helps you manage recipes
Seeing what other people have made can give you ideas for your own project. It can give you a sense of what's possible and/or popular at the moment
- Oasis Hub - Projects has a compendium of all current and past projects by Oasis participants and is a great place to start to see what other groups have done
- ProductHunt is a site that showcases the "best new products, every day" showcasing the latest mobile apps, websites, hardware projects, and tech creations. It can be a useful place to really spark your creativity and see what's possible.
- Kickstarter, while more product focused, is a great site to see what is possible and really get your gears turning on the kinds of projects you can create.
Friends, Family, Co-Workers, Anyone!
The tried and true strategy for finding ideas: asking others what they wish existed! This may be a great way for coming up with product ideas, but for projects ensure that they align with you values, interests, and desires.
In short, side projects are a good catalyst for personal growth and collaboration skills, and project ideas should be fun, simple, beneficial for you and your team with possible market-viability. Inspiration can be found in may places including from your interests, projects others have made, and problems others face.