If I had an hour to solve a problem I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.

Albert Einstein

Probably this quote exactly summarizes why most startups fail.

Startup and other product development focuses too often on the solution. On the other side it is natural to create solution and then see if there are clients or users willing to use it for a problem they have. It is not so motivating to analyze problems first before you create a solution.


Customer development is the way to start. But in practice it is often hard to find potential clients or better early adopters or better Earlyvangelists.

A new approach we are going to test is to find a 5 till 10 and focus completely on the problem, without talking about the solution, so just like Einstein suggested.

In stead of solution, you keep a vision in mind.

In this case the vision will be:
AdWords budgets can be moved partly to content marketing to also build a brand and engagement.


The potential clients should feel an active problem with AdWords (for example price per click is getting to high for non branded to get an acceptable cost per acquisition) and share the vision that AdWords budgets can be moved.

I call it crowd-sourcing of problem-customer fit. The crowd are customers, the source is the problem analysis.

To create a base for crowd-sourcing of problem-customer fit I took co-creation as an example.

The type will fit the most to a club of experts. In this case the experts are potential clients (or partners) who face or recognize the problem.
Four types of co-creation

It means that there is some kind of selection process. The selection will be to find everybody who face or recognize the problem. Which will be already hard to find. There is only one initiator, which is me.

The guiding principles will be as follows (so based on co-creation):

  • Inspire participation: Trigger people to join analyzing the problem, even if they know the problem already: open up and show what is in it for them, which is the final solution (maybe beta testers).
  • Select the biggest active problems: you need the biggest active problems to create the most valuable solution.
  • Connect analytic minds: You have to enable analytic people to analyse the problem.
  • Share results: Giving back to people – and finding the right way to do it – is crucial

Probably Local Motors is the best example of co-creation in comparison with crowd-sourcing of problem-customer fit. But in stead of the designing face, there is an analytical phase where the problem is analyzed in detail. If it is problem more people/companies share then there is base to create a solution which is introduced in an Agile way.

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