The Innovators Gift (+ Customer Forces)

The 1 Line Description

How to leverage existing solutions to a problem, to find great business opportunities.

When to use it

Use this for needs discovery in the early stages of building your business.

Key Ideas

#1) Forget about solutions. Search instead for problems worth solving!

Too many entrepreneurs fall in love with their own solution. Starting with a solution is like building a key without a door.

Rather focus on doors. I.e. Problems worth solving!

New problems worth solving are created as byproducts of old solutions.

For example: 

#2) Use the Customer Forces Model to dig into the problem context

Experience maps are useful for understanding a problem context: 

As are Customer Personas: 

But to really dig into the drivers of customer behavior, focus on the Customer Forces at play: 

This model also provides a useful lens for thinking about the Growth Funnel / Pirate Metrics (AARRR) (Acquisition, Activation, Retention, ...) : 

#3) Use the Existing Alternatives Interview, to dig into the Customer Forces

#4) Apply the "Bigger Context Lens"

Sometimes the stated problem isn't really the problem. Instead of focusing too narrowly on what people say the problem is, rather dig into what people actually want in the bigger context. For example: 

Or, digging even deeper: 

#4) The Customer Forces Template

Templates can save you a lot of time. Here's a nice one for the Customer Forces Model: 

Download this template from