Conventional innovation and marketing wisdom reminds us not to come up with good ideas for products or services to sell, but to solve problems instead. People need to eat, but don’t have time to cook, so open a cafe or design a new food processor with an extra chopping function. The result is six ‘me too’ cafes clustered in the same area, and a dozen food processors that don’t help people to do anything more than the last one did—all competing to solve what the business owner believes is the problem.
Behind every problem is the story of the person with that problem, which is more nuanced than the problem itself. Great solutions address specific parts of a problem that a particular person has. And so meaningful products and services not only work, they make customers feel understood.
Opening the doors or making the motor work is the easy part.
The hard part is understanding who is going to care that you did it.
Image by Stacy Anderson.