Not Every Good Idea is a Marketable Idea

I’ve been working through some idea-generation techniques at Sybase recently in an effort to come up with a (hopefully) brilliant product demo. It needs to show off the capabilities of the product in question while at the same time solving a core issue experienced by a rather large demographic. Make the target too broad and the solution becomes too general and disinteresting to most – make it too targeted and it again loses appeal with many users. So the main point of contention has been this problem. What is the problem I want to solve? And then I realized it.

It shouldn’t be what problem does my product solve – rather, it should be what is the problem I should solve with my product?

I think that becomes a big problems within some companies. There’s a lot of technical know-how and products get created without a target market or need laid out beforehand. It’s the do-it-cause-we-can mentality, but that’s rather pointless if no one wants to buy the end result. Of course, all products should be the result of a need, a requirement for something that resolves an issue or makes life a little more convenient. The difference is that you define the problem to solve and create the product. Otherwise, you have a product and have to scramble to find a problem is can solve. The reaction I want to extract from users of this demo is ‘Ah yes, I hate it when I want to do that and can’t‘. Then I show them how to resolve that with with my product.

So now that I understand what I’m looking for, I just have to find this oh so common but unsolved problem in peoples’ lives. 😉 It’s tougher than it sounds.

One thought on “Not Every Good Idea is a Marketable Idea”

  1. I think your point is…

    that product developers should sharpen their targets to specific applications or… a narrow range of applications?

    but doesn’t it benefit a product developer more to create a free-form open-ended product in which the end user decides how to manipulate and implement to fit their specific needs? Such an approach would surely boost the flexibility and creative influence that could be driven to the application to suit their needs.

    1 decent product that different industries can utilize

    vs

    6 similar yet different products that 6 industries can use.

    oh yeah, I think Ed’s coming too! He works at Pearson so maybe you guys could meet up or something.

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