Obsess in the problem your idea solves rather than the technology that solves it


I see and hear about new ideas all the time – partly because it’s my business, but partly because I’m a naturally inquisitive person. It’s not hard to find cool new ideas, but….the acid test is, “would I use it” and indeed, would I use it more than once or twice, would it become a habit – would it ‘stick’ and all too often the answer is no. 

Ideas that stick are ideas generally ideas that solve a problem. If that problem that doesn’t really exist (or not enough people have, or recognise they have the problem), it won’t stick. It’s as simple as that.

I’ve doubtless made the same mistake – I’ve become obsessed with an idea and start building the best solution I can straight away before I’ve really understood the problem or validated that anyone else has the problem. My best advice therefore:

“Obsess in the problem your idea solves (and the people who have the problem) rather than the technology that solves it”.

And be truthful and that can be hard to do – and the more time you invest into the solution, the harder it gets to see it objectively. We’ve all seen this on shows like Dragons’ Den / Shark Tank – entrepreneurs and inventors literally invest their life savings into a ‘thing’ but can no longer describe why anyone would use it.

Actively try and disprove the problem before you start work on the solution.

You can do that in a number of ways; you can interview the people who you believe have the problem and ask them what the impact of the problem is. Even better, find data to support this. Do these things before you show them the solution so as not to introduce any bias.

The job here isn’t just to confirm that there is a problem, but to be sure that the people that you believe have the problem care enough about it that they will adopt your idea to solve it.

I have an experiments board that I use. I will publish it online, but if you want to see it, email me, mike@everythingbrilliant.co.uk