Innovation Fact 1 – Existing solutions never last
It’s easy to fall in love with your own solution. Yet it can be misleading to think you solved the problem once and for all. But solutions never last.
Problems remain, but solutions always change
Think about the real problem you are trying to solve. Do you need long-distance communication or do you need a phone? Customers may want the result your solution offers, but not necessarily the solution itself.
Reflect on this: do people want a lawn mower or do they want a well-groomed lawn? A lawn mower will indeed help them to trim the grass, but so might neighbor with hungry sheep or a subscription to a weekly lawn mowing service.
All of these are trying to fix the “problem” that grass continues to grow. But maybe your biggest competition is not a better lawnmower but artificial grass. Good luck selling your super-modern micro-mulching lawnmower to the owner of a maintenance-free artificial lawn.
Solutions versus functions
Do people want bigger, better cars? They might, but maybe flying a drone is the next big thing? Or what if Virtual Reality web conferencing takes over and disrupts business travelling entirely?
Which functionality do you provide? Trimmed grass or a carefree garden? Do you offer convenient travelling or do you provide easy meeting solutions?
Functions remain, solutions change.
When addressing perceived needs in the market, go beyond solutions and try to clarify the main functionality you are trying to provide. Get a broad perspective on various ways to cater to those problems. Thinking in functions greatly reduces the chance that you will suddenly be disrupted from an unexpected angle, e.g. web conferencing versus low cost travel.
No product or service will remain the best solution for a perceived problem.
Maintain a clear view on your playing field, know which functionality you provide and keep in mind that existing solutions never last.