To Create New, Breakthrough Innovation Stop Focusing on Products

People don’t buy stuff. They buy what stuff does for them—producing their desired results or at least helping them make progress towards their desired results.


For example, why does someone buy a light bulb?

  1. Because they want to own a light bulb.
  2. Because they want light.
  3. Because they desire a particular environment and, in their particular circumstance, light is needed to create that environment. The best way to obtain that light, in their opinion, is with a light bulb. So, they buy a light bulb.

Ding, ding, ding! The best answer is number 3. It’s the desired result that drives the purchase, not the product.

If there is a better alternative than a light bulb for obtaining light, again, in the buyer’s opinion, the buyer would obtain that solution instead. If the circumstances were different and light was not a necessary component of the desired environment, the buyer wouldn’t consider a light bulb an effective means of obtaining their desired result no matter what cool, whiz-bang features or sales promotions were offered.

Focusing on what products do or how customers use them closes your mind to innovation opportunities. To gain market share, know what important outcomes customers are trying to achieve and figure out which technologies, products, and features will best satisfy those outcomes.


Bob Roitblat
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Bob Roitblat

Bob Roitblat is a Leadership Capabilities Expert and TEDx speaker. He helps organizations ignite creativity, overcome challenges and capitalize on opportunities. Bob is also the president of Mainsail Consulting Group, a business-advisory firm. Also connect with Bob on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.

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Bob Roitblat
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