Lean Canvas – ask yourself what Problem am I Solving?

Lean Canvas  – solving a problem?

Before you decide to undertake the creation of a new product, feature, start-up, business or idea, try asking yourself this question: What Problem am I solving? Most new start-ups are unable to be successful as they waste time, effort and money developing the wrong product.  A significant factor in this failure is because they are unable to fully understand the problem they are solving.  Once you understand the problem you will be able to clearly articulate and then define possible solutions.  One method of helping start-ups or organisations with product development could be in the use of a Lean Canvas Model (an example of the model is detailed below), note the first box on the left is for defining the specific problem and next to it is the solution(s).


Lean Canvas model example

lean canvas

Lean Canvas Model

CX and UX

Whether you’re creating a startup or a new product, it’s a good idea to think about the Customer Experience (CX) and the User Experience (UX), where developing the solution might start at the beginning of the customer journey i.e. what is the customer problem I’m trying to solve? In essence the approach is to work backwards from the customer/user experience rather than approaching the idea of, say, a new product development to solve a technology problem.   UX is usually product specific whereas CX is the broader experience a user/customer has with a company or brand.


An Amazon Example

Amazon has a great approach to ideation where they always work backwards from the customer and even go as far as writing a mock-up of a press release that allows them to capture the customer perspective of the problem they are trying to solve.

Take a look at Werner Vogel’s weblog on building scalable and robust distributed systems:  http://www.allthingsdistributed.com/2006/11/working_backwards.html

A great example of this thinking in action is with Amazon’s new “Dash Button”. A copy of the press release is below:

“Dash Button comes with a reusable adhesive and a hook so you can hang, stick, or place it right where you need it. Keep Dash Button handy in the kitchen, bath, laundry, or anywhere you store your favorite products. When you’re running low, simply press Dash Button, and Amazon quickly delivers household favorites so you can skip the last-minute trip to the store.”

Excerpt from Midvision Blog: Amazon’s Secret to Customer Focused Features: Write The Press Release First


By using the Lean Canvas approach it forces you to answer some difficult questions as to the viability of your idea, new product or business and is definitely a worthwhile exercise to undertake before actually forging ahead in your new venture.

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