Problem Intensity Model
People encounter multitudes of problems every day, in everything they do. Some are mere irritations, some are adequately solved, while others are just too difficult to deal with so they are ignored.
If you are looking for new business opportunities, or ways of improving existing offers you need to be able to identify which problems people are more interested in solving.
This is key to the KN3W IDEAS process. The KN3W IDEAS Problem Intensity (PI) Model helps you pick the right problems to solve – the ones that people are more likely to be highly motivated to fix.
As illustrated in the graph below, problem intensity is a function of :
1. Problem Relevance (PR): How relevant the problem is to the individual - difficulty x impact.
2. Commitment to Solve (C2S): How motivated the individual is to find a solution – effort and dollars.
How does the PI Model work?
The KN3W IDEAS PI Model uses a Problem Board and a set of trade-off questions to position a target audience’s reaction to a specific problem onto the matrix. Each respondent’s PR and C2S score is plotted. Responses to different problem boards can be compared, as shown in the pictures below.
The Problem Board presents a Problem Behind The Problem (PBTP) in a short statement, using the words of the problem owner with some visual elements for emphasis.
The sample size of a KN3W IDEAS Problem Intensity study need not be large, as the output is only directional.
Sometimes it’s simply not feasible to run a formal PI study. Often when working on smaller projects the expert knowledge in the group might be quite sufficient to prioritise different problems.
The following examples illustrate four different problems tested amongst 100 people in the target audience.
Problem Statement 1
Most respondents agreed the problem was highly relevant and were motivated to find a solution. There are very few respondents who did not see this as a relevant problem. This is a strong PI profile for a problem worth solving.
Problem Statement 2
Most respondents agreed this was a relevant problem, but didn’t appear to be motivated to find a solution. This is typical of problems that a) people feel there is no obvious solution for e.g. World Hunger, b) are just not something they expect to solve, or c) they have become used to living with e.g. cost of fuel.
But don’t give up! Wording the problem in a different way, making it more personal or giving the respondents a different take on the issue could change the C2S quite easily.
Problem Statement 3
About half the respondents agreed it was a relevant problem they were motivated to solve. The other half indicated it was not a relevant problem and, therefore, had no motivation to seek a solution. This kind of response could be for one of two reasons. Firstly, the problem might not be relevant to some people because it’s something they have already solved. Or secondly, some respondents simply don’t have the same attitude towards the problem. For example, some pet owners might find the cost of vet bills a very relevant problem, while others might have a totally different attitude to their pets and not consult a vet regularly. Another group might be wealthier and not see cost as an issue. Problems with this kind of PI profile need to be reviewed carefully, particularly when half of the target audience might be aware of a solution that the other half have not yet found.
Problem Statement 4
Less than 25% of the respondents indicated this was not a hugely relevant problem, but they were motivated to solve it. This indicates a small niche opportunity that could be very viable. An example might be car enthusiasts who are reacting to a problem related to colour fading or stereo performance. On a relative scale it’s not a huge problem, but they are motivated to find a solution.
The four problems can now be compared and prioritised to take forward to the next stage. Only respondent scores from the green, blue and yellow quadrant are counted and turned into bubbles. The size of the bubble indicates the weighted respondents scores, and the position of the bubble is based on the cluster mid-point.
A great introduction to this unique new problem-led front-end of innovation technique. The book is also a complete DIY guide to running your own KN3W IDEAS workshop because it contains a complete set of the patent-pending KN3W IDEAS templates and tools, and a step-by-step classroom in a book tutorial – everything you need to start picking the right things to do – now!