Fall in Love with the Problem, Not the Solution: A handbook for entrepreneurs

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Fall in Love with the Problem, Not the Solution: A handbook for entrepreneurs

Fall in Love with the Problem, Not the Solution: A handbook for entrepreneurs

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Its staff would be equipped and encouraged to approach communities not by asking “what do you need?” or, for example “how can we use mobile phones to help you?” but rather by observing what they already have and identifying positive deviants. This organisation would define its programmatic priorities only after having completed this process, framing interventions based on its intimate knowledge of the local dynamics and capabilities. If you listen to all your customers, pretty soon, you’ll have a bloated monster on your hands. Even if you listen to your most valuable customers, you might still build stuff that they don’t use. This is because most feature requests are framed as solutions, not problems. And customers are often not good at devising solutions — even to their problems. “It’s not the customer’s job to know what they want.” Finally, to fall in love with the problem means a commitment to gaining customer empathy, considering a broad range of ideas and experimenting with your customers. Should you feel guilty if you’ve fallen in love with a solution? Of course not, as long as you follow a structured process that allows you to say goodbye to a solution that’s not working, and fall in love with the next one you try! Deloitte shall not be responsible for any loss sustained by any person who relies on this publication.

People fall in love with the solution because they want easy answers and seek magic bullets. Unfortunately, magic bullets don’t exist. I'm grateful for the positive impact the #book has already made worldwide since its English version release in January. I am an entrepreneur and also a mentor and teacher. Committed to spreading entrepreneurial thinking, it was only natural for me, after building two unicorns – Waze and Moovit – to take the next step and write “Fall In Love with the Problem – Not the Solution, a Handbook for Entrepreneurs”. All of them knew within the first month. There was one guy who knew before he even started. The problem was not that the team wasn’t right. The problem was that the CEO did not make hard decisions. Making hard decisions is hard, and this is why making the hard decisions usually goes all the way to the top of an organization. But there is more to it. “The problem was that the CEO did not make hard decisions.”It is of course very difficult to argue against problem definition. Analytical thinking is what most development practitioners - and business managers - have been traditionally trained on. The underlying belief is that when once you thoroughly explore the problem space (often through a desk exercise), the solution presents itself. And, let’s face it, starting with “I might not know what the solution is to this particularly challenging societal issue” is not exactly a successful strategy when pitching for donor funding. Fall In Love with the Problem, Not the Solution offers mentorship in a book, and aims to empower you to build a successful business by identifying your consumers’ biggest problems and disrupting the inefficient markets that currently serve them.

The team created a 3D-printed prosthesis for Phoebe and encouraged her to color it at home. She liked the ability to customize it so much, they created another one—and this time, they asked Phoebe to sketch the design first. “We didn’t understand the real problem when we started the project,” Greig says. “We thought it was how to make a functional prosthesis using 3D printing. But the real problem was how to make a functional prosthesis, using 3D printing, that someone actually wants to wear.” Start by recognizing that your true job is to create a customer (not your solution). Customers are results or outcome driven. Look for a job they are trying to get done (jobs-to-be-done) and study how they are getting it done (existing alternatives).Q:I don’t understand this: “Fall in love with the problem, not the solution.” My problem is high unemployment in my area. I want to create jobs and the solution is job development. Please explain. I was persistent, though. Anyone who knows me is aware that once I get an idea in my mind, it’s nearly impossible to dissuade me from pursuing it. Telmap had 50,000 users at the time, all in Israel, and all using their mobile phones with GPS. I built a theoretical statistical model to show how those 50,000 random drivers would be enough to create actionable traffic information. It was a very simple model that turned out to be accurate later when we built Waze. The problem definition default setting means that, whether explicitly or implicitly, development workers develop a bias towards externally, expert driven solutions (what has been effectively dubbed the reductive seduction of solving other people’s problems. Levine offers an inside look at the creation and sale of Waze and his second unicorn, Moovit, revealing the formula that drove those companies to compete with industry veterans and giants alike. He offers tips on:

It can be detrimental to ignore what others are telling you. Maybe your friends, potential business partners, or investors had something important to say and you didn’t listen! But, at the same time, you must be in love to go on this journey. It will be a long, complex, and difficult roller-coaster ride. If you’re not in love, it will be too hard for you. Next, when you come up with ideas, don’t feel the need to temper any enthusiasm that may arise. This passion is helpful in making the process fun and engaging. However, you can provide a satisfactory segue from focusing on one idea to ideating on more solutions by writing the idea down. Starting with a goal is also helpful, e.g. commit to coming up with seven ideas. This will keep you honest about continuing with ideation even if you think you’ve already found the answer. Firing is a hard decision. Hiring is an easy decision. When hiring new people, mark your calendar 30 days down the road and ask yourself: Knowing what I know today, would I hire this guy again? If the answer is yes 30 days in, then tell that person that you are pleased with their performance so far. If the answer is no, fire that person immediately because from this point on, everyone already knows that this person shouldn’t be there. If you don’t fire that person, this is the beginning of the end of your organization. The Lean Canvas isn’t a better Business Model Canvas but a different canvas altogether. Even though I changed 4 boxes, the addition of the Problem box continues to generate the biggest mind shift in the resulting business model.

It’s a journey of failures building something new that no has built before. We try something and it doesn’t work so we keep trying different things until we find one thing that does work. If you’re afraid to fail, you already failed because you’re not going to try. Albert Einstein used to say that if you haven’t failed, that’s because you haven’t tried anything new before. Michael Jordan said that failing over and over and over again is what made him successful. This is usually when you disengage from your friends because you are in love with that idea, you are in love with what you’re doing, and you don’t want to listen to anyone else. Let’s fast forward to a launched product with many customers. With lots of customers come lots of new feature requests. Who do you listen to? Both organisations were homegrown and, arguably, more sustainable in the long term than donor-driven initiatives. There are many ideas that you think up, and eventually there is one that you tell yourself, this is the one. This is like going on many dates and eventually meeting someone and telling yourself, she’s the one. At the beginning, you only want to spend time with your date. You don’t care about the rest of the world. Similarly, you only want to spend time with your new idea and your new concept. You think about it from multiple perspectives. You think about it from the problem that you’re going to solve and the people that actually have this problem, and this is how the solution is going to look and this is what will do tomorrow morning and this is my end game and so forth, until you feel confident to tell your friends, this is what I’m going to build.



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