Startups today seem to be born to solve a known problem. To flip around Edison’s famous quote, the most common inspiration for invention is perspiration. The kind of frustrating sweat associated with not being able to do something you believe you should easily be able to. In other words, the discovery of a need.
This abutment of need and technology seems to be the driving force of our digital economy. The discovery of a need has therefore been transformed into an economic force driving large aspects of our lives.
Yet ideas are not needs. Ideas are new and transformative but should be born from something bigger than frustration. This co-opting has happened in our society because of the drive for “innovation” and the result is that ideas are now considered a commodity. I think that’s a sad turn of events.
Many ideas are great but hindered by technology and the ability for society to contextualize the idea. Idea’s based on needs are ideas based on today’s needs they have little to do with tomorrow or rethinking our world. They are vetted and doable and often even easily understood.
What innovation truly should be, is tomorrow’s ideas. Big, hairy audacious problems.