Our total viable market was a slice of a slice of a slice

Why most innovations fail

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Brands love beating their chests.

Bragging about how their innovative products and services are filling people’s needs in a simple, useful way.

Which is fine, except when there is a profound disconnect between what the brand is proud to ship and what the customer is prepared to buy.

My first startup job was with an air passenger rights organization. We helped disrupted travelers get compensation from the airlines for delayed, canceled and overbooked flights.

Great product. Our customers raved about us. But we still had a major category problem.

Most travelers didn’t even know they had rights, much less what those rights where, much less how to file a claim with the airlines to compensated for a violation of those rights, much less that they should use our company over the competition.

Our total viable market was a slice of a slice of a slice.

If your organization is struggling to get traction, perhaps it’s time to go back to the drawing board and ask yourselves a few questions about your brand.

First of all, do consumers even recognize that they have the problem you are trying to solve?

And if they do, do customers understand why it’s important that you’re better than the competition?

If they don’t, growing the brand is going to feel like pushing a van uphill with the breaks on while people throw rocks at the windshield.

Schrager’s book on why most innovations fail observed it most eloquently:

Innovation is about designing customers, not just new products. Successful innovators don’t just ask customers to do something different, they ask them to become something different.

What brand of customer does your innovative brand help create?

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Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.

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Author. Speaker. Songwriter. Filmmaker. Inventor. Founder of getprolific.io. Pioneer of Personal Creativity Management (PCM). I also wear a nametag 24/7.

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