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Innovation through Pain Point analysis

If you are looking for ways to innovate and evolve your business there is a simple and proven way to do this.

  • Firstly, understand what business you are in. This goes back to marketing 101. It’s not about the widget you sell, it’s about being crystal clear about why people buy it. What need does it meet for them? What is the rational benefit and what is the emotional benefit? There is always an underlying need and this doesn’t change much over time, even though the products or services people use will most probably change over time. If you don’t have this in mind it’s very easy to go down a rabbit hole of ‘ideating’ stuff that is just too far removed on why you do what you do. It might be OK to do a major pivot from one thing to another, but you at least need to be aware when you are doing that. Understand who you serve and why you serve them from the outset. Know where the guardrails are.
  • Then, understand all of the pain points your customer faces around using the product and service to solve that need. There are a number of ethnographic methodologies you can use to do this, but the most effective ones will allow you to know all of the joys and all of the frustrations that your customers face. It will require painstakingly picking it apart and understanding all of the steps, routines, beliefs, and habits around how they use your product or service and finding out all the little things that irritate them, as well as the big things that shit them to tears. There is always something.
  • Finally set about imagining ways to fix those problems. Put aside everything you thought you knew about this and just wonder about a solution.

I know a lot of companies that spend too much time and effort looking at what their competitors are doing instead of listening to their customers. That’s where the real magic lies. It needn’t be expensive. And I don’t really know why all companies aren’t spending money on this ahead of trackers.

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