Fall in love with the problem, not the solution

  • godrejbiro
  • March 5, 2018

Deepa Bachu for Entrepreneur

The article was first published in Entrepreneur 

1 in 10 startups succeed and that is startling! That stat however hasn't kept budding entrepreneurs from taking the leap of faith despite the odds, in search of that dream/aspiration.

The early stage venture fund, Axilor Ventures, with its unique venture funding model and carefully designed programs improve the chances of success of these entrepreneurs. One of the many things they offer is access to mentors and entrepreneurs who have walked the path before and seen success, having built their own empires today.  

Deepa Bachu, CEO & Co-Founder, Pensaar, a design thinking and strategy firm is a mentor at Axilor, who frequently engages with startups to share lessons learned and skills acquired during the course of her own work experience and professional success focusing particularly on Problem-Solution fit and Product-Market Fit for early stage startups.

Problem-Solution Fit

Often we see that people fall in love with the solution. It is hardly surprising that once entrepreneurs have identified a solution to a problem, they will defend it at all costs. It becomes their baby and they think they know best. Not trying to take that away from them, but we believe it is just as important to step back and take a good, hard look at the problem that needs to be solved and the best way to solve the problem.

“Fall in love with your problem and not your solution”

For an entrepreneur nothing can be more important than succeeding with their venture. Pensaar, with its problem solving expertise rooted in design thinking, enables startups, enterprises and social organizations to first address the problem-solution fit. Design thinking by its very nature is a structured, human centred approach to innovation and strategy. Innovation starts with and is built around solving a problem, the right problem. What determines growth & whether the product will be successful or not is whether it solves to the satisfaction of the end user. Once that need is identified then you have your core product value, crucial for growth and continued product engagement.

Niramai Health Analytics, a breast cancer screening startup, raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding from investors. They were also a part of the recently held design thinking session by Deepa and here’s what they had to say about it “Thanks Pensaar for helping us step back, articulate pain points and value proposition better. Really useful to get design thinking perspectives on how we are approaching the problem we see”

Product-Market Fit

Having created solutions basis the right problem, what increases the chances of success is ensuring the product is right for the market- what is widely known as the product-market fit. Marc Andeerssen who coined the term defines it as "being in a good market with a product that can satisfy that market."

If it is done right, customers will see value in the product leading to high adoption of the product/service. Deepa, through the design thinking mentoring program empowers founders to be better prepared for the world and the market they are venturing into.

There is no dearth of ideas or tech expertise in India, however it is often seen that companies fail because of lack of customers, not inability to build technology. “The term product/market fit describes

‘the moment when a startup finally finds a widespread set of customers that resonate with its product’”, said Eric Ries. It doesn’t matter how beautiful your product is, if it lacks market fit it will fail to capture people’s interest and is doomed from the get go.

So can Design Thinking guarantee success? Perhaps guarantee is too strong a word since there are many variables that impact success. However, Design Thinking will guarantee capturing the aspirations and pain points of the user and is game-changing, as it increases your chances of success when you go to market.

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