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Problems and how to find them. Inventing and Improving.

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LightningHelix

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Mechanical engineer here,

How do you guys go about identifying problems? I know MJ wrote about one of his friends who digs around in amazon for products that have been reviewed a lot, but have scored pretty low. I'm not sure how to do that, maybe there's a trick to amazon's search engine to find what I'm looking for? I'm not coming out with much by searching things on reddit or google tittle "Sucks..." or "I hate..."

I'm looking to find weak products and improving them to sell as my own brand or license the idea out.

Some say just go out and experience different things until you encounter a problem you can solve. To me that sounds a lot like an event rather than the process of finding a problem. I want to get started on my process asap and waiting for a problem to hit me like a truck isn't cutting it.

There's got to be a better way, no?
 

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Ismails

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You can identifying problem by looking at people's problem like asking questions in your working niche/field & people who already working there.

Demarco literary talked about it in his TMFL book.

In the TMFL Book & Chapter 36: Find your Open Road, there is a sub-chapter - How to Spot Open Roads.

Demarco said: The Opportunities of open roads come in easily painted Language: Discomfort, distress, inconveniences, complaints, problems & performance gaps.
 

MetalGear

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Pay attention and ask yourself "what's a pain in the butt to me?"
 
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LightningHelix

LightningHelix

Bronze Contributor
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Mar 26, 2015
104
205
155
33
You can identifying problem by looking at people's problem like asking questions in your working niche/field & people who already working there.

Demarco literary talked about it in his TMFL book.

In the TMFL Book & Chapter 36: Find your Open Road, there is a sub-chapter - How to Spot Open Roads.

Demarco said: The Opportunities of open roads come in easily painted Language: Discomfort, distress, inconveniences, complaints, problems & performance gaps.
I reread that chapter, it gets back to my point. It says to listen for opportunities from others or problem you personally experience. I'm pretty quick to solve problems whenever I encounter them, and there are plenty of ways out there to solve them. I guess my world is perfect and needs nothing ;shrug;

Waiting to hear from problems from others just isn't cutting it.
 

Jesse D

New Contributor
Apr 10, 2019
10
10
16
New Jersey
Mechanical engineer here,

How do you guys go about identifying problems? I know MJ wrote about one of his friends who digs around in amazon for products that have been reviewed a lot, but have scored pretty low. I'm not sure how to do that, maybe there's a trick to amazon's search engine to find what I'm looking for? I'm not coming out with much by searching things on reddit or google tittle "Sucks..." or "I hate..."

I'm looking to find weak products and improving them to sell as my own brand or license the idea out.

Some say just go out and experience different things until you encounter a problem you can solve. To me that sounds a lot like an event rather than the process of finding a problem. I want to get started on my process asap and waiting for a problem to hit me like a truck isn't cutting it.

There's got to be a better way, no?
I did something similar for a product I've developed. Also an engineer here...

For me it looked like this...

1) Searched Amazon for relatively simple product that sells (i.e. I found a product that was available in major chain stores-- Target, Home Depot, Staples, Amazon, etc but was not too complex for me to handle alone. I didn't want to tackle something unrealistic for me, learning this entire process/exercise has been my goal here)

2) If #1 really is a selling item, there is likely lots of customer reviews on Amazon about it. Filter through all 3-star, 2-start and 1-star reviews ( I combed through 100+ reviews manually, created an Excel sheet, and discovered common complaints between customers (HINT: These are the PROBLEMS YOU NEED TO SOLVE WITH YOUR PRODUCT)

3) Now, how do you use your engineering experience to fix those problems? Get creative and start brain storming/designing/modeling prototypes

4) Iterate #3 many times (for example, I think I had 12 different prototypes that were either had fashioned from raw material, 3D printed, or manufactured in China)

5) Get to a prototype that your comfortable using on your own. Let other users test.

6) Start introducing to Market-Mind to gain validation / invalidation on how well you solved original customer problems and how well you convinced them of your solution.

This is my quick 5 minute run down. Obviously lots of work here. I'm nearing Step 6 with my own product soon. Good luck to ya!

- Jesse
 
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LightningHelix

LightningHelix

Bronze Contributor
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Mar 26, 2015
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Thank you @Jesse D

Incredibly useful advice!

I think this will be the first step in my process. Basically, I'll search 5-10 random simple products (as in ones I can handle on my own.)every day, until i dig up one that has a common problem that I can fix.

At least this way, I can start the process.

Any industries that are a better focus? I feel like kitchen gadgets are probably a good bet to start digging around, maybe there are others....

EDIT: Maybe I can give some info back. Have you ever read Stephen Key's One Simple Idea? Great read for those like us in this foray. I'm rereading it a second time, since I feel some bits didn't absorb into my noggin the first time. But great read none the less.
 

Jesse D

New Contributor
Apr 10, 2019
10
10
16
New Jersey
Thank you @Jesse D

Incredibly useful advice!

I think this will be the first step in my process. Basically, I'll search 5-10 random simple products (as in ones I can handle on my own.)every day, until i dig up one that has a common problem that I can fix.

At least this way, I can start the process.

Any industries that are a better focus? I feel like kitchen gadgets are probably a good bet to start digging around, maybe there are others....

EDIT: Maybe I can give some info back. Have you ever read Stephen Key's One Simple Idea? Great read for those like us in this foray. I'm rereading it a second time, since I feel some bits didn't absorb into my noggin the first time. But great read none the less.
You're welcome. I have no idea what industry is better than what. I recommend finding a problem that's manageable for your skill set. Meaning it's not some crazy electro-mechanical device that requires high tech electrical, mechanical, RF performance, and likely a lot of help from other people.

Or maybe you can handle all of this. I don't know but I'll assume it's unlikely.

My other advice is to forget the industry part.

I'm working on a tech / cell phone accessory. I'm not "into" this industry so to speak, but I'm into solving problems.

I haven't read that book you mention. I will take a look at it quick on Amazon. If you're serious, just get to work on identifying a problem and looking through consumer data. Forget the books. Could be an action-fake you're onto with this re-reading stuff-- think about it.
 

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