Entrepreneurship is problem solving

by Jamie Flinchbaugh on April 26, 2011 · 2 comments

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?

1 Matt Wrye April 27, 2011 at 9:21 am

My wife started her own small business. She defined the problem as there being no affordable option for all natural luxury soap and bath products for the everyday woman. She now concentrates on soaps but has perfumes and lip balm that is natural and more very reasonably priced compared to other similar products in the stores. Checkk it out at her website http://www.crimson-hill.com.

As far as defining the problem, it is the hardest thing to do. When I am working with someone learning PDCA the problem definition is what we seem to spend the most time on. I still catch myself making some of the big mistakes in my problem definitions, like stating a solution in the problem statement. It is a difficult task.

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