The entrepreneurial journey includes searching for a problem-solution fit. Searching begins with curiosity and observation, an awareness and understanding of our environment and the broader world around us.
Creation Realities, Now Legendary Lore
Zipcar: Car-sharing company launched in 2000, IPO in 2011, and acquired by Avis in 2013 for $500 million. In 1999, the founder returns from a trip to Europe where car-sharing concept is popular and cofounders based business on existing German and Swiss companies. Launched concept in Boston and across the US.
Rent the Runway: Founder observed her younger sister, Becky showing off a $1,600 dress she had just purchased for a wedding and noticing the “kazilion” other dresses in Becky’s closet and how the sister couldn’t stand to repeat an outfit. A closet full of dresses, but nothing to wear. Rent the Runway now offers over 50,000 dresses and 10,000 accessories from over 200 designers. Company has raised $160 million in venture funding and has more than 5 million users.
Dropbox: Drew Houston. Graduated MIT in January 2006. Summer 2006, while waiting for a bus from Boston to NYC, realized that he had forgotten his USB drive back at his apartment. Frustrated and on the 4-hour bus ride, he began writing the first lines of code that would later become Dropbox.
Identifying Venture Opportunities – Where to start looking for an idea?
- Dominant source of venture ideas is prior employment—work experience
- For younger entrepreneurs, your college experience. From dorm room to campus
- Travel and personal hobbies
- Experiences, particularly frustrating ones
- Observation of customer needs, complaints, and unfulfilled wishes
What are the key skills that innovative entrepreneurs use to identify ideas for a new venture?
5 Discovery Skills:
- Associating: connecting unrelated questions, problems or ideas
- Questioning: asking questions that challenge conventional wisdom and the status quo
- Observing: scrutinizing common phenomena, particularly the behavior of customers
- Networking: cultivating a network with diverse perspectives, expertise, and experiences
- Experimenting: reducing uncertainty by testing assumptions and learn by doing
Now, get out there and start innovating!
Image credit: CC by TechCrunch