Looking for past attempts to fix a problem.

In my prior role in market research, I was trained to look for "intent to solve" while I researched and mapped customer behavior. It's a simple way of saying: If some people aren't already trying to solve the problem you are addressing, they probably don't need the solution you're offering.

And, the million-dollar question is:

When will someone make a change?

To help answer that question, here's a scale I use to identify where people where at on the "intent to solve" scale.

  1. Enjoyable: "I love it and you should try it too"

  2. Functional: "It works, but it's nothing special"

  3. Ignorable: "It is what it is. It's not ideal but it gets the job done"

  4. Annoying: "It's frustrating to use but works, I avoid doing it

  5. Intolerable: "I dislike it, I'm actively seeking alternatives"

Level 5, Intolerable, is the low hanging fruit. These are problems that people will eagerly test and adopt new opportunities for when given the chance. It only takes a little prompt for them to make a change.

However, I want to speak about problems that are ignorable, level 3, and annoying, level 4. In design terms, these are the people who can make the difference between your solution being a hit, or a niche product.

Is your proposed solution compelling enough?

Ideally, you need to help move people up 2 or 3 levels of the scale for them to accept your proposed change.

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