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Why one solution wins the market – and the others lose

by May 8, 2017

Or how to design a winning business.

This bothers me! Not because I don’t believe it’s true but because the crucial step is always missing in these creation processes. What am I talking about? Lean Startup, Innovation, Disruption, Design Thinking or as you can see in this whiteboard animation (below), Service Design.

I use them all the time and they work! But not like magic and the way they’re presented – and taught, you’ll need a good dose of star-dust.

They all have their unique structure with steps (you probably know already BTW) that you can only nod and say yes too. The thing is, they never tell you the crucial part. For instance, about a minute into the movie, they say “uncover service opportunities and …. start to explore solutions”.

In other words – you’ll find “something”.

That’s like saying ” get all the knowledge you possibly can gather – and by visualizing relations, a winning solution will appear. Oh – and a totally new business model that goes with it too”.

We can nearly hear in the background how someone is whispering “…during a one week concept-development workshop, this will happen”. Or hackathon/ideation/etc.

If this is you: a leader of a company or the person who has to do the explore-solutions-grunt-work then don’t be disturbed if this approach doesn’t work for you.

Instead, you’ll get a little bit of what you’re looking for and when we get only a little bit – we get confused. We think we should keep going and just like when digging for gold, we just need to go a little bit deeper.

And I understand because no one explains what to do instead – and no one has made this mistake more than I have.

Here’s why it doesn’t work the full mile.

If what you mean to do is create a brand new winning solution – what you’re really doing is defining what “something” is for the first time. This is why Sony’s Walkman, Google’s search platform, Netflix, Facebook or even the screwdriver or spoon is a winning solution.

No matter how much you think you are looking for a solution – you are NOT! You are short-circuiting how to get a certain value. And HOW you short-circuit becomes “a” solution. By fine-tuning one of the solutions, you will hit resonance. Yes, this is just as much about the business model.

This is a radically different approach than what is most likely taught you anywhere. What most try to do is have a relationship with customers that unravels the pains they will pay to get rid of and then find the right solution.

I know you really want to look for customer needs and (very concretely) search for answers. That may lead to more of the business you have and that’s great but you wont create a brand new winner.

Yes, people will pay for getting rid of their pains or some of them at least. It just wont lead you to owning a business category. Instead, by finding out what you want to short-circuit, you find out what they want to access and people will pay high-end prices if you can bring them to access a so far hidden world.

It takes a very different process.

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