Would you like to invent a hugely successful product?
Imagine saying goodbye to your 9 to 5 and hello to “living the life.” Sounds great, doesn't it? But most new innovative products fail. Is there a secret to finding that next big hit?
Yes. Solve an annoying problem that in some way affects millions of people every day.
Think Simple, Trivial
I am an engineer (or I was until my product Wonder Wallet achieved amazing success).
Engineers love challenges, they love to tackle complex problems, wrestle with them and finally find an elegant solution. Successful products are virtually never elegant solutions to complex problems: they are simple solutions to annoying almost trivial problems. As an inventor, it took me years to accept that fact. How about some examples?
Problem 1: Keeping Warm While Watching TV
Snuggling up in a warm blanket on the couch in front of your favorite TV show has been a winter time tradition for millions. There was just one problem: you had to reach an arm out to grab your TV remote or steaming cup of hot chocolate, allowing cool air to flow into the gap in your warm cocoon. How annoying!
The Snuggie (as well as Slanket and other similar products), a blanket with sleeves, proved a simple solution to this trivial problem. Snuggie has become a DRTV hit, selling millions of units over the years. Small, annoying problem – simple solution = marketing success.
Problem 2: Long Boring Tedium in a Hospital Bed
What is the worst annoyance for hospital patients facing days or weeks recovering from an illness or surgery? Being woken abruptly from sleep in the middle of the night to have your vitals taken? Bland hospital food is also annoying.
Far worse, it seems is the prospect of long boring hours and days of tedium lying in a hospital bed. Daytime TV is full of soap operas, reading puts you to sleep. You need a simple, stress reliever. How about Colorama, an engaging adult coloring book? Coloring takes us back to happy days as children, it is fun, creative and relieves stress. Today Colorama books sells millions of units in retail stores and on HSN. Adult coloring books are another DRTV hit.
Problem 3: Getting Into Your Car
Older people and those with physical limitations often find climbing into a car, especially a pickup truck or an SUV, a daunting and challenging prospect. A simple, effective solution took form in the Car Cane: a strong handle attached to a metal spike that provides much better leverage. This new product has sold millions over a very short time.
Be observant. Watch people and look for problems and annoyances of daily living. Then ask yourself, “isn't there a better way to do this?” Your next product may be the solution to an annoyance faced by millions – that could pay you millions.
Think about it.