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Market First Thinking

Innovators develop new ideas all the time. Some of them fly, and some of them don't. Most of the time, these new ideas are born out of a problem. The innovator is trying to solve a problem and there's no market solution available. At that moment, the innovator may decide to create something new, something that the market has not yet provided.

As evidence of this approach, the best intellectual property attorneys will usually ask the innovator to start the patent process with a robust problem definition. "What problem were you facing and how did you go about solving it?" This process will often force the innovator to take a step back and reconsider the origin story of their innovation.

But the market is a savage teacher. No matter how great the innovation appears to be to the innovator, the market is the final judge of how important the new invention will be. It might be useful for a small audience broadly applicable for a big audience, or useful to no one beyond the innovator. It's absolutely critical to spend time understanding the market before spending too much time and money on building the solution.

The common terms for this is "Product Market Fit." The smart innovator will take the time to look down the road and understand the product market fit prior to throwing themselves into the innovation process.

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