A winning idea solves a social problem

The entrepreneur’s dream is to launch THE new product idea that will ‘change the world’.

Aspirations, however, must be tempered by the reality that less than half of startups survive five years; the kill rate is high — Roy, realist

At the heart of whether or not the entrepreneur survives is the nature of the idea itself, the problem it solves and how it compares to other ideas and solutions in the market.

Successful new ideas must serve a compelling purpose and be different. The success of a new idea starts with the purpose it serves and ends with it’s uniqueness. The mind blowing new idea has to serve a relevant, compelling, easily understandable purpose and it needs to be different from competitive alternatives.

And, on the other hand, a new idea that is simply different won’t necessarily be a winner if it doesn’t easily resonate with people as having huge benefits that could be realized by many people.


There are two bookends that describe new ideas: one is an idea that addresses a narrow specific need. These tend to be innovations targeted at a small specific application. Go to the App Store to see some examples — different types of keyboards, music apps, photo apps and a plethora of others targeted at niche demand.

At the other end of the spectrum is an idea that addresses a broad purpose and is often driven by societal problems.

eBrake is an example of a new idea that is a unique solution to the distracted driving problem where drivers use their mobile devices to text, email, watch videos, post on social media and engage with practically every other app that takes their mind off the road.

Both niche and broad spectrum new ideas are valid, but eBrake is likely to outperform the more micro specialized solutions for these reasons.

eBrake talks to many people

It addresses a broad compelling need. It’s common knowledge that distracted driving causes more traffic accidents and deaths than any other cause. Worldwide media are constantly reporting on the problem and what governments are doing to solve it. Social media as well keeps the topic alive.

It resonates with multiple market segments; it’s a special solution for many types of applications.

eBrake’s flexibility to deal with many segments needing a distracted driving solution is appealing, whether you are a parent concerned about your new driver or an organization with a substantial fleet operation.

A 10 year old could explain it

It’s easy to explain. Everyone knows what the distracted driving problem is all about and how the problem can be solved by locking out the driver’s phone while they are driving. eBrake does this while allowing passengers the use of their phones.

In less than a minute eBrake can be explained in simple terms that people understand and, what’s even more important, they can explain it to their friends and family in the same way.

It’s the only real distracted driving solution

It’s the only solution that does what it does. There is no other solution that does what eBrake does.

In fact eBrake is the only REAL solution to distracted driving because, unlike other solutions in the market, the app can’t be turned off by the driver. People get that if the driver can turn the app off, it provides no solution at all as the driver can simply text away to their heart’s content.

New niche oriented ideas that can be clearly differentiated from a competitive product can be successful but the energy and resources to turn them into profitable businesses is significant. And the investment required could exceed the time one has available to “stay alive”.

Find an idea with HUGE social appeal

The key to success is not simply being different; rather it’s about simplicity of the value proposition and the social narrative it serves — Roy, socially responsible

Better to find an idea that has huge social appeal — a large potential market available — and can be explained by a 10 year old.

And one where the cool technology isn’t relied on to sell it; rather the technology merely sits in the background doing what it should do — making the new idea work.

Serve a compelling social need in a way that is different than any other solution and you will indeed have a big idea that could — but not guarantee — win you the lottery.

But it has a better chance than a new niche idea that may be cool but doesn’t have the emotional appeal and potential critical mass to attract massive interest.
Written by Roy Osing
A leading executive in Canadian business and a recognized content marketer, blogger, speaker, seminar leader, business consultant, educator and personal coach.

Roy Osing (@royosing) is a former President and CMO with over 33 years of leadership experience covering all the major business functions including business strategy, marketing, sales, customer service and people development. He is a blogger, content marketer, educator, coach, adviser and the author of the book series Be Different or Be Dead.


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