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How to Avoid Solving the Wrong Problem

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“We’re still feeding them the wrong problem to solve. So we waste a lot of energy and money,”

– Joe Kleinwaechter (@jkleinwaechter)

Joe Kleinwaechter (@jkleinwaechter), VP, Innovation and Design, Worldpay spoke with us at the 2018 IRI Annual Conference in Atlanta. “The challenge is that you’ve got to figure out if you’re solving the right problem, and that can only come through a discovery process that’s really, very in tune with who your customer is.”

In an earlier conversation with Brant Cooper (@brantcooper), CEO of Moves the Needle, he said that customers are horrible about predicting their own future, and it’s difficult to impossible to figure out what they want by simply asking, “What do you want?” Kleinwaechter says customers do know what they want and the problems they want to solve. It’s just that innovators are asking the wrong questions.

Both Kleinwaechter and Cooper agree that innovators should stop chasing technical achievements. With an emphasis on the should vs. the can of innovations, the process must begin with problem discovery.

“Innovation happens when you can find a latent need that they don’t even realize is a problem,” said Kleinwaechter. “The solution will come easy after you understand the problem well.”

Innovation for all

It’s best to make innovation everybody’s job, and not a specific team. Although, trying to portion your day out for 70 percent immediate needs, 20 percent mid-term needs, and 10 percent long-term needs sounds wonderful in theory, it really can’t be done in practice. Most people don’t just turn on and off their innovative minds.

“So when you think about innovation, it’s not about creating the next great, brilliant thing. That happens through a lot of small, little brilliant things that happen on a regular basis that over time add up. To me, that’s the real innovation,” said Kleinwaechter.

Created by: David Spark 
Spark Media Solutions


*Banner photo by Hans-Peter Gauster on Unsplash

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