How to Avoid the Innovator’s Bias for the Solution

I’ve previously described the importance of uncovering problems worth solving early in your business modeling, but how do you avoid the innovator’s bias for the solution? The recommended path for filling out a Lean Canvas is starting with the problem/customer segment quadrant but if you already carry a picture of a hammer in your head, the danger is framing all problems as nails. Today’s post is about avoiding this trap.

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No Problems in Your Business Model is a Problem

A manager at Toyota is delivering a quarterly update to an executive. He’s enthusiastic because all the metrics are trending up and to the right. They shipped on time – sales, and customer satisfaction numbers are up too. The executive patiently listens until the manager is done and then asks: “So where are the problems?”

The manager explains that it was a great quarter and that there are no problems to report. The executive shakes his head and says: “No problems is problem”.

This is the famous Toyota “no problems is problem” story that is often retold by lean consultants to highlight one of the key tenets of running lean.

Business Model Canvas

Customers Need to Fire Something Before They Can Hire Your Product

I’ve previously described the importance of nailing your customer’s problem as the initial battle. But it’s about way more than just getting their attention. When you can describe your customer’s problems clearly and succinctly – even better than they can, there is an automatic transference where they believe you also have the solution for them. This is what Jay Abraham calls the “Strategy of Preeminence“. This same phenomenon is also at work at the doctor’s office where after correctly diagnosing you, you are more open to the prescription.

Playing Lean – The Game

This is a guest post written by Simen Fure Jørgensen. He runs a consulting firm, Iterate in Norway, and is the creator of a new board game, Playing Lean, that promises to teach Lean Startup principles.

Playing Lean

Are Entrepreneurs Born or Made?

I often get asked to weigh in on the age-old question of whether entrepreneurs are born or made? I believe that true entrepreneurs are born – not made. Startups are inherently uncertain and a lot like roller coasters. One day, you could be on top of the world, full of confidence, and believe that your […]