How to Find Your Doing-Good Idea – Part 2

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Step 2 – Choose Customer and Problem

Based on your work in Step 1, you have established that the water is at least warm enough for a swim. In this step, you dive into the water. The topic has picked your interest and you have decided to invest some time on the topic, fleshing out more details.

An excellent product idea needs to solve a problem for a person, that is, a customer. So, let’s get started looking at potential customers and their problems.

Question Description
Who do you want to help and what problem do they have? Make it personal. Strive to come up with several real persons that you would like to to help. Preferably yourself, or someone you know very good. Write down their names and visualize their situation. What problems do they have related to your chosen topic of interest?

If you can’t think of anyone close to you that have any problems related to your chosen topic, you can also create a fictional persona, embodying a group of people, such as “Jenny” a “young professional in UK”. Make sure to give the persona a name and a short story.

Prioritize the possible pair of customers and problems based on the following questions:

  • What customers/problems are you most excited about helping/solving?
  • What customers/problem does it makes sense to help/solve first?
  • What customer/problem do you think could be helped/solved by you?
Choose your favorite problem, what is causing it? Now that you have chosen a problem that you are excited about solving, let’s understand what is causing the problem. It’s time to start your journey to become an expert on the topic. Knowing what is causing the problem makes it simpler to find excellent solutions.

When thinking about possible causes, avoid jumping to conclusions based on “common knowledge”, which, surprisingly often, tends to be wrong or oversimplifications. We suggest you break down the problem by asking repeatedly “why”. For each “why” you ask, you dig deeper into the underlying causes, eventually approaching root causes.
Prioritize and select the root causes you will focus on solving based on the same criteria as in question 5.

Step 3 – Get Inspired

Now that you know something about the potential problems facing your customer, it’s time to look for inspiration for potential solutions.

Question Description
What exciting new technologies could help you fix the problem? The first source of inspiration is new technologies. New technologies could help you solve the selected problem in a new and better way compared to existing solutions. Understand what technologies are out there and what could be relevant for the chosen problem.
How are people already solving this or related problems? Another source of inspiration is to look for how people already solves similar or related problems. Search for solutions not only in the industry you are focusing on, but also in other industries that are known for solving related problems in a clever way.

Also, knowing about already solved problems gives you pointers to what problems are left unsolved for you. Hence, this question is also a good scoping question.

Step 4 – Think possible products

We finally arrive at possible product ideas.

Question Description
What could be created that could help solve the problem? Force yourself to brainstorm at least two completely different approaches to solving the selected problem. By realizing that there are several ways to solve the problem, you open your mind to a greater variety of potential solutions

Prioritize and select your ideas based on the following questions:

  • What product ideas are you most excited about? Your motivation, or passion, for a product idea is the most important selection criteria. Lack of motivation will cause you to discard the idea as soon as you meet some resistance.
  • Does the product idea solve a real problem that a customer has?
  • Is the product idea based on a secret? E.g. does the product idea, for most people, look very boring, but for the few who really understand the potential in the product, the product idea is super sexy? Or, maybe the product idea so far has been infeasible, but thanks to recent technology, the “secret ingredient”, the product idea is now viable? Most excellent product ideas are based on a secret. If it’s not, there would already be hordes of people working on the idea.
  • Is the product idea something that could be made today?

Move on to the next part, see Part 3, or go back to Part 1.