How to find a problem to solve
If you Google ‘where ideas come from’, it’s clear that an idea needs to solve a problem.
However, the hard bit is knowing what problems need to be solved.
How do you find the big, valuable problems that need to be solved?
Most advice focuses on seeking out day-to-day problems— what problems do you, your friends and the person on the street experience? You’re hungry, how do you get food quickly? You’re lonely, how do you get a date? You don’t like your housemates, how do you find a new place to live?
At Entrepreneur First, we don’t believe in using your day-to-day personal experience to identify problems. Why?
- No founder advantage; it doesn’t ask what problems or areas you have an unfair advantage in. It removes any leverage that a founder may have due to their skills, expertise, or network undifferentiated ideas; many people experience the same problems on a daily basis e.g., food delivery, dating, music discovery
- Undifferentiated solutions; without having expertise in a space, founders come up with undifferentiated solutions. This leads to crowded and competitive markets that are often won by whoever raises the most money (usually a US startup).
When we first started EF we encouraged founders to use this well tried method of identifying problems. It created ideas, but it didn’t create defensible and globally important ideas.
At EF, we have developed our own way to help founders identify the problems they are best suited to solve. It’s called Edge.
An individual’s Edge is their unfair advantage in solving a problem, compared to other founders.
Each individual who joins EF is encouraged to reflect and to think about their unique skills and experiences. We then help them think about how these could give them an unfair advantage within a particular market.