What hammer are you using to turn everything you see into a nail?

It was merely a solution looking for a problem

Image for post
Image for post

Wikipedia editors experience something called a solution looking for a problem.

According to various contributors, this phenomenon occurs when an inexperienced writer submits a proposal that doesn’t address any issue in particular. Even if that person’s writing is stylistically accurate, it’s only proposed for the sake of change and doesn’t offer any practical advantages.

And so, that article gets deleted. Nothing personal, it’s just business.

It’s an efficient, practical and democratic system for editing ideas. One that investors could learn a lot from. After all, we live in a world where some entrepreneur farts an idea, and he instantly gets five million dollars.

Of course, nothing of value is created, but piles of money are made anyway. And within eighteen months, that product is never heard from again.

Because it was merely a solution looking for a problem.

When I invent new products for my innovation gameshow Steal Scott’s Ideas, I always look for problems that satisfy several criteria.

They must be real, expensive, urgent and pervasive.

Real, meaning not just some bullshit problem that only exists inside my myopic little head.

Expensive, meaning something that’s costing people and organizations a statistically significant amount of time, money and resources.

Urgent, meaning our failure to solve this problem would have immediate consequences.

Pervasive, meaning there is a substantial tribe of people who suffer from this problem and are disconnected from each other as a result.

Without such constraints, solutions are likely to cause more problems than they solve.

Next time you sit down to solve the world’s problems, ask yourself this.

How did our potential customers survive all these years without this product?

Because if your new ideas requires developmental costs without any tangible benefit, it’s not an innovation, it’s a solution looking for a problem.

What hammer are you using to turn everything you see into a nail?

* * * *

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

Image for post
Image for post

Listen to the world’s only product development and innovation gameshow!

Subscribe today. Join out community of innovators, artists and entrepreneurs.

Together we can solve real problems, brainstorm ridiculous inventions and build robust marketing strategies to help those ideas improve the world.

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

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store