Hey! What's The Problem?

Monday, 06 January 2014 06:31
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The most powerful innovations solve meaningfully large and intense consumer problems. The road to superior solutions start by properly understanding and defining the problem.

Curious to learn more? Read on, dear friends...  

Hey! What's The Problem? A good starting point for developing a business case is to be able to articulate the problem which serves as the impetus for the business opportunity that one is seeking to promote. I'm drawn to Clayton Christensen's thinking in this area. He asserts that product developers should start by focusing on the target consumer and "the jobs to be done". For instance, I recognize that my eyeglasses tend to slide down the bridge of my nose when I am active and/or when I perspire. This causes me to have to repeatedly push the glasses back up in place, which is an annoyance. If I start by defining this phenomena as the problem, versus focusing on my higher level desire of being able to see clearly while active and or perspiring, I could unintentionally limit my solution set. I could restrict my solution options to those involving the use of eyeglasses...instead of say, considering LASIK or contact lenses, which avoid eyeglasses altogether. That said, in this instance, let's assume that eyeglasses will be involved. In essence, the problem statement is: Keep eyeglasses from slipping, even while active and or perspiring. The problem cause is primarily due to the eyeglass nose rests and frames slipping due to increased lubricity caused by perspiration/sebum and or motion. Further, slippage is also induced by the eyeglass frame center of gravity, which essentially loads weight over the nose bridge. It is important to focus on the problem holistically when considering solutions, versus just minimizing a particular negative aspect of a single existing product execution. This approach can even result in introducing new negatives. In the example I've given, note that there are a number of different existing solutions intended to address the problem, each with drawbacks: Adjust/Tighten Frames: Temporary solution, which can cause glasses to be fitted too tightly and be uncomfortable. Bending Frames: Ineffective and can damage the frames. Straps: Could be uncomfortable to wear and also, due to absorption of perspiration, can become unhygienic and require laundering. The makers of Keepons (see photo above) have thought this problem through pretty holistically, focusing not only on functional design aspects, but on emotional ones as well. Their solution addresses the major drawbacks of current solution alternatives:

Gently hooks around your earsSafer than eyeglass straps, cords, and chainsMore hygienic that fabric eyeglass retainersScientifically stops slipping glasses (by altering their center of gravity)Small and transparent so they're not noticeable

See www.keepons.net   Is it the ideal solution? The consumer reviews are favorable...that's a good start. Get the problem right before you try to solve it.

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