Solutions Looking for Problems

Solutions Looking for Problems

Many organizations we see are led by visionary leaders who want to effect change on a grand scale: tackle poverty, disrupt food systems, slow down global warming, transform healthcare.

We need these people to expand our field of vision of what's possible, but many of their solutions fall into two traps:

1) their solution is disproportionally small compared to the problem they're proclaiming to solve (disrupt the education system with an app on a classroom tablet!)

2) they have found a proportional solution to a problem, but not a reliable payer/customer (the healthy-food grocery store in a food desert that doesn't have food neighbors will actually buy).

The traps share a common underpinning of being unclear about 1) what problem is actually being solved, 2) whose problem that is, and 3) who pays. Businesses inherently get this; social impact orgs often struggle.

And we ourselves are not immune: Uncharted has fallen into this trap before, and the advice we're currently getting from our advisors is to spend as much time finding a market as proving out the impact of our solutions. Here's an article on this.