By Stephen Wunker
Innovations that open up new markets often don’t stem from brilliantly creative solutions. Your CEO doesn’t need to be Steve Jobs for your company to generate business breakthroughs (a lot of CEOs think they’re Steve Jobs, but that’s a different issue).
The keys to creating new markets are usually dead obvious if you’ve crafted a really precise view of the challenge. So get out of the conference room and find what causes people trouble. Don’t identify new markets just by gut, because your gut feelings reflect how you perceive your world, not a customer’s world.
Talk to real customers. Better yet, observe them. Because if you ask customers what they want, they’ll focus on the market as they know it. Henry Ford reputedly said, “If I had asked customers what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse.” Look keenly at what people are trying to get done, and what prevents them from doing those things better. Only then should you think
through solutions to their problems.