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Is your innovation product an Aspirin, Vitamin or Amphetamine?


Wichtigkeit des Innovationsmanagement

The Innovation Pharmacy: What does your product really deliver – Pain relief, Wellness, or just daydreams?


In the world of innovation and product development, products are often categorized as "Aspirin" or "Vitamin." These classifications help companies and developers better understand the true value and marketability of their products. But what exactly do these terms mean?


Aspirin: The problem solvers

Aspirin products are solutions that address an important, urgent, and often painful problem for users. They provide immediate relief or improvement that users can directly feel and experience in their lives. Consequently, people are willing to pay for the added value these products provide because they have a direct and tangible impact.


These products are characterized by their high utility value (experienced value proposition). They solve a specific problem that users are aware of and actively seek to remedy or reduce.


"A startup is not about solving a problem with a solution looking for a problem. The best startups are painkillers, not vitamins. They relieve a problem and solve a real pain in the market."

Steve Blank


Vitamin: The Nice-to-Haves

In contrast, Vitamin products are useful and can enhance users' lives but are not necessarily essential. They offer additional benefits and contribute to general well-being or convenience if there is willingness to adopt them or switch from an alternative.


Vitamin products often struggle to establish a solid user base because they are not perceived as essential. Their success heavily depends on perception and current trends. They are purchased when companies have additional resources and are willing to invest in them. However, they provide insufficient added value to trigger significant or economically quantifiable impact among users.


Amphetamine: The hallucinations

A less discussed type of product is the "Amphetamine." These products mislead innovators into believing they solve a relevant problem that actually doesn't exist (lack of users, problems, or problem/solution fit). They create a kind of illusion or deception that convinces offering companies they are addressing the right users, that these problems exist, that the solution provides real value, or that users are ready to switch from the status quo. In reality, there is no genuine problem/solution fit, and the company develops solutions naively, leading to a cycle of futile efforts until capital is exhausted or the situation is recognized.


"If your product solves problems that didn't exist before, you may have created an Amphetamine: It keeps you awake but doesn't move you forward!"

Conclusion - Aspirin, Vitamin or Amphetamine

The ability to identify the jobs to be done by users and determine which needs are poorly fulfilled or not fulfilled at all is the foundation of every innovation. Sorting out the relevant problem candidates and formulating them into a Problem Prompt is the basis for subsequent ideation of solution ideas. From these, solution candidates arise that are then validated against the original problem through simple to complex prototypes. Crucial to this process is the user's experienced value proposition, which can be quantified (less, more, ...), forming the core of every new business model. Without this, all activities amount to mere "Happy Innovation," coupled with "Happy Engineering," leading nowhere fast.

Yetvart Artinyan

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