(2023-08-27) Maurya How To Systematically Uncover Big Problems Worth Solving

Ash Maurya: How to Systematically Uncover Big Problems Worth Solving. Fifteen years ago, if you had asked people to rank their top problems with taxis, they would have said rude drivers and dirty taxis. This would have led to a driver train- ing program or a cleaning service, not ridesharing services. (startup idea generation)

The Uber founders’ encounter with the problem occurred in December 2008. But they didn’t immediately work on the idea, and it wasn’t until May 2010 that the founders launched the service in San Francisco.

Finding problems worth solving requires turning your idea spark into deeper Customer-Problem-Solution (triad) insights

While a good idea can originate from any one of these nodes, I recommend starting with your customer assumptions first. More specifically, go deeper to identify the distinguishing characteristics of your ideal early adopter segment that will become your beachhead market.

Even in the Uber story, while the founders got hit with a starting problem and were able to quickly formulate a possible solution, their ideal early adopter segment was not immediately apparent.

You can’t afford leaving your beachhead market to guessing or waiting to see what happens.

1. Run a broad-match study to identify your beachhead market.

*The best way to do this is through problem discovery interviews where you target recent users of the existing alternative that you’re looking to displace.

In the case of ridesharing, your study could target anyone who recently hired a cab in the last 30 days.*

uncovering why and how they selected, hired, and used the existing alter- native under study.

It only takes 10-15 conversations for patterns to quickly emerge. These patterns can be captured as job stories (jobs to be done) and ranked

2. Use a narrow-match study to home in on specific problems worth solving.

Customer interviews are still the best vehicle for this study but this time your objective is uncovering deeper insights into why people act the way they do.

These learnings can be summarized as customer forces stories from which you identify more specific problem hot spots (root causes) worth addressing.

3. Design the smallest solution that causes a switch.

The art of defining the right minimum valuable product (MVP) is selecting the smallest subset of problems that would create a compelling enough unique value proposition to cause a switch.

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