CREATING A NEED
There are any a number of reasons for a service provider, or any consumer-oriented company for that matter, to come up with a new offering, as discussed previously. But among all the ideation techniques, creating a need is the most difficult. To succeed requires demonstrating a need, such as filling a gap for a need that is already being met or adding new capabilities to improve the ways users are already satisfying a need. Either way, if you are not meeting a need you won’t succeed.
What’s more, providers who choose to create a new need will have to demonstrate to users that a need exists. At the same time, creating a user need offers the possibility for market disruption, with the benefit of dominating a market and rendering competitors irrelevant. Therefore, creating a need could lead to a financial bonanza.
The Luxury Fashion Company Toying With Creating An Unmet Need
A luxury jewelry company with sagging sales hired a director of innovation to revitalize its brand. (We will disguise the company because of a yet-to-be-released offering.)
The director was essentially charged with creating an idea that will appeal to a desired target market. We see this often in the fashion industry for which companies end up a new style and throw buckets of money into advertising to create market appeal. The large fashion houses that design new outfits will test them in runway shows to gauge buyers’ interests before they invest more. There are greater challenges in fashion accessories.
With our jeweler, the new director proceeded to develop a new idea through familiar brainstorming and other ideation techniques. An idea that emerged with some interest was an oral fashion accessory. which given some imagination might be based (loosely) on an existing line of products.
Some of those in the industry and familiar with the ideation, however, are wondering whether the idea is too far-fetched.
Given our discussion around user needs, it has yet to be determined whether the audience is willing to lay out a lot of money for an expensive accessory that may be rarely visible inside someone’s mouth.
Clever Salesman Indeed, Learns To Create A Need
Within a dozen years, Laszlo Büch, a Holocaust survivor who had made his way to New York City, single-handedly transformed a struggling startup to icon status simply by reshaping a paper coffee cup.
Burk, a salesman for cup manufacturer Sherri, came upon an idea to solve a user need by designing a disposable coffee cup that was more practical for transporting hot liquids.
Burk, who Americanized his hard to pronounce name to Leslie Burk, was finding little success competing with the other cup manufacturers who had a lock on sales with the owners of greek diners, the bulk of buyers in the 1950s Manhattan.
Burk figured he would need a new product to meet unmet needs, setting him off on a stakeout of coffee-drinker habits and behaviors.
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Leslie Burk, Inventor of Anthora Cup
Tabless Greek-styled Anthora Cup.
How Venmo Succeeded By Tapping Into A User Need.
Venmo, a peer-to-peer payment application owned by PayPal, experienced phenomenal growth at a pace rarely seen by similar services.
“It became popular for friends paying back friends for drinks, cabs, and rent,” blogger Erin Cullum writes on the website popsugar.com. “Perhaps, it’s the tagging feature that allows users to send messages back and forth [that made it so popular].”
In reference to the success of Venmo, Ron Shevlin, Director of Research at Cornerstone Advisors, said, “Bank execs must be shaking their heads in disbelief…How long have they been trying to push P2P (Peer-to-Peer) payment services at their customers, to no avail?”
PayPal’s president Dan Shulman, agreed that, for Venmo, the capability to add messaging to the transactions was what did the trick for users.
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