PowerPoint Template

Defining the Problem
To a child with a hammer,
everything looks like a nail
Nothing is more dangerous than an idea when it is the only one
we have.
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Before developing your solution, make
sure you’re working on the right problem
 What is the problem?
 Whose problem is it (and whose problem is it *not*)?
 Why is it an *important* problem?
 Why hasn’t it been solved before?
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“Always on” email
Email is now an essential “utility”
Zero configuration
When it goes down the productivity of
my workforce goes to zero
Lights out
You don’t need to sell me, if you deliver
it, I’ll buy it!
Instant failover to local appliance for local
failure (planned or otherwise)
Is the problem – fix Microsoft exchange?
And what “it”?
Near instant failover for full site disaster
(or a move)
Supporting not just email but everything
that was being hung on the email system
– archiving, compliance, security, etc.
It was a lot more than the customer
first let on
Took going back with conceptual
designs to tease out the real
At a price that the IT lead could sign off
The curse of the corner case
Which worked in every configuration of
Exchange of which no two are identical
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Disney Execs:
– Ops: Expand?! We can’t even meet
today’s demand.
– Photographer at my service where
and when I want, but not in my face
– Merchandise: Why sell a photo for a
45% markup when we make 85% on
tee shirts and plush?
– Professional, high-quality photos
with your camera and mine
Guest Complaints:
– My first park experience was a
photographer harassing me, but
then I never saw him again when I
was ready
– I want my ride photo but I don’t
want to carry it around the park all
– I wanted to buy my photo at the end
of the day but the line is an hour!
Rethink the business not as
merchandising but as a Disney-caliber
guest service:
– No waiting in long lines; nothing to
How? Move photo fulfillment bottleneck
from the park to the web
– Many more photographers
– More photos = more memories
– Hassle-free shopping at home
– Higher margins – in parks and online
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A problem well-defined is
A problem inadequately defined will produce the wrong product!
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Formal methods for need finding
Discovering unmet needs that exist but everyone overlooks
Broad need finding
 Buglists & Customer Feedback
 User observation
 Mind mapping
Deep need finding
 Structured interviews and observations
 Process mapping
 5-why’s
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Fundamental Behaviors of Need Finding
Be There
No substitute for being “in the place”.
Be Present
Immerse yourself, roll up your sleeves, dive in.
Be Surprised
Release expectations.
Be Thoughtful
Your idea is just a theory. Question everything.
Be Humble, Be Gentle
Balance aggressiveness with reality.
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The real problem is rarely
the obvious one...
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“Customers don’t want ¼ inch
drills, they want ¼ inch holes.”
— Ted Levitt
“We don’t sell makeup,
we sell hope.”
— Max Revlon
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Create a first draft of the real world problem
you are solving
Identify and State The Problem
 Based on what objective sources of data?
 Any confirmatory evidence?
Identify the Customer(s) – who has this problem?
 How critical is this problem? Must have, want to have, nice to have?
 How is this problem being addressed today?
Describe the Value Proposition – how would they value the solution
 What are the costs of the problem? Hard costs, soft costs, other costs (e.g.,
reputational costs, perceived risk to employment etc.
 Based on what evidence
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What are you doing?
The pitch should start by explaining *what you do*
Be specific about whether you are going to make something, develop
something, license something, provide a service etc....
 "We make and sell software...”
 "We develop therapeutics that...”
 "We license a technique for manufacturing biofuels...“
 “We provide safe, fun and engaging entertainment experiences…”
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For whom?
Next, who is your consumer/customer?
Be specific about who is your intended customer or consumer
 "for doctors in rural communities in India..."
 "for waste water treatment plants across Canada...."
 "nursing mothers with HIV...“
 “for the entire family – parents, toddlers and teens alike…”
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Why is this important?
Finally, explain why it is important.
Give evidence: use market size, intense needs, and unstoppable trends to show that
what you are doing is the foundation for a great project or business
 "3 billion people annually have this problem..."
 "1 million children per year die of..."
 "Energy consumption in data centers will double in the next 10 years...“
 I spent $10,000 on this family vacation and my teenager is bored to tears.”
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Let’s try one.