I’ve written before that problems solving is a key still for innovation, in 3 Key Stills that Enable Innovation. This is why we must be building problem solving skills at every level of the organization.
Perhaps one of the most important aspects of this is simply defining the problem. It’s sounds easy. So easy in fact, that we just take it for granted. But we shouldn’t. Defining problems well define focus.
And for entrepreneurs, they create strategy.
On the blog Startup Professionals Musings, an article appeared on Monday that agreed with my point of view on this. It was titled Five Problem Solutions to Motivate Your Startup. It defines 5 problems to solve:
1. Automate a labor intensive process
2. Fix something that’s broken
3. Take a luxury and make it a commodity
4. Make something cheaper and easier to use
5. Take a current solution to the next level
If you’re not solving one of these problems, I would argue that you don’t have a strategy or a product. I believe that Google Wave, an interesting but rare product failure from Google, met this definition. I tried it. But I couldn’t figure out what problem it was solving for me. Plenty of people were intrigued by seeing people type as they typed it, instead of waiting to hit send. But if you were really watching, this removed the benefit of other forms of communication. In the end, it was neat. But it didn’t solve a problem.
Before you launch a new product, or launch a new business, you better be sure that you are solving a real problem.
I would love to hear from some entrepreneurs on this: how did you define the problem that defined your business?