Where do smart ideas come from? A smart idea starts with a problem or a need. Innovators are the ones who first see a problem and then create a simple, ingenious solution for it. This is the process, simplified of course. Let’ s look at 5 examples of innovative ideas and see how a problem was the source of a smart solution.
The following videos can all be found on kickstarter.com, the world’s largest crowd funding platform. I chose these projects not only because they are great. As I said, at the hearth of innovation often you find a problem or need. But how do you find out what people are struggling with? In Ux design there are a few methods to do so. Ethnographic research for example. Or contextual inquiry. The goal is to get to know your user by observing, questioning and trying to see through their eyes. This seems all very obvious in theory but put to practice how can it help to create a better product?
All the following projects have one thing in common: the creators felt a need or saw a problem and by looking around they understood that other people felt the same. Some of them are even part of the same population they are creating the solution for. They have a deep understanding of the problem and this makes their ideas so useful and successful.
The message here is: don’t aimlessly create something just because you, your team, a developer or a designer thinks it’s great. Create products for real people by researching their problems, pain points and frustration.
Problem: People tend to lose or forget things. How many times where you looking for your key this past week? You see, this is a real problem.
Solution: A tag that you can put on everything (keys, pad, dog, kids) and track it with your phone. It also includes an alert function if you move out of range of the tag.
Problem: Losing things seems to be a real problem for people. On kickstarter I found at least a dozen products to keep track of your things. Lupo is one of them.
Solutions: As XY it consists of a tag you can apply to your precious things which you then can track with your phone. Lupo has a few more additional features. You can use the tag also as mouse or as control to make that perfect selfy!
Problem: People love to take pictures. Photo sharing and editing apps are big (Instagram). The problem is that when you are out at night (pub, club, outside) the quality of your pictures is suffering greatly due to the lack of light and the poor quality of pictures taken with flash.
Solution: A case you can put on top of your iPhone that gives a soft, warm light that makes your photo worth sharing. It is equipped with an independent battery and so doesn’t drain your phone. You can change the filter to give your pictures different colorations and effects.
Problem: Not so long ago a big family provided an important social net for young couples with kids. Families were living in the same neighborhood or even under the same roof and grandmothers or aunts were taking care of their grand children and giving advice. Changes in society often leave young families without this support and parenting can become a real challenge.
Solution: Create a network that brings parents living in the same area together. Based on common interests, hobbies, groups and events Family Groups tries to help parents re-build a support network in their community.
Problem: Kids are spending more time in front of a screen which dulls their creativity and makes them physical inactive. Also, parents spend a huge amount of money in all kinds of toys.
Solution: A wristband that transforms everything you do into a toy. The wearable toy is versatile, engaging, and encourages kids to use their imagination.
P.S. You can help funding all the projects mentioned here at kickstarter.com!