When I back out of my drive, there is this one little spot that is really hard to see. You cant see it in the rearview mirror and you can’t see it in the side mirrors. The dreaded blindspot. And that, in variably, is where I’ve put my trashcans.
In our everyday, there are hidden aspects of problems that we can’t really see. Thats why auto manufacturers added all those mirrors, cameras, and sensors. What do we do as innovators? We can’t walk through life with an array of mirrors strapped to us. No, this is when we use some lenses. Previously, we’ve talked on the surface level of lenses (see prior post) and in this one we’re going to get more into the how.
In the movie National Treasure, historian Ben Gates (Nicolas Cage), has some fancy glasses with multicolored lenses that reveal hidden clues on the back of the Declaration of Independence. Innovation lenses work in a similar way. By looking at your situation through different lenses, and different combinations of lenses, new solutions come into sight.
“Perceive that which cannot be seen with the eye.”
Miyamoto Musashi, A Book of Five Rings: The Classic Guide to Strategy
Lenses allow us to look at problems and solutions in a new way. They get you out of your normal brain path and into some divergent thinking. Your first instinct is to resort to your habits, your known constraints, and your know resources. Lenses stop you in your tracks so that nothing is an automatic response. To find new solutions, you have to break your old cycles.
Lenses get you beyond the confines of you business model and into some adjacent areas. Out in the unexplored areas, the hidden coves, is where treasure awaits.
How to use a lens:
- Boil down your problem into the very base mechanics.
- What are the root causes of your customer’s pain?
- What very base jobs are they trying to do?
- Apply a lens to your base mechanics.
- How would McDonald’s address these customer pains?
- How could the customer accomplish the jobs they need if the constraint was a positive instead of a negative?
- Translate a lensed solution to your industry.
- Now that you have a divergent base, build it back into your environment.
- How could you actually pull this divergent thought off?
Previously I shared these lenses:
- How would I never solve this problem?
- What is the worst way I can solve this problem?
Here are a few more of my favorites:
- How can the pain points be sold as features?
- What would [Insert popular company] do?
What are some of your favorite lenses? Comment or tweet them! #lensesofawesome