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The Compulsive Solution Syndrome in Innovation

Updated: Apr 9

Wichtigkeit des Innovationsmanagement

The technically oriented innovator in the grip of the Solution Syndrome. Fixated on technology, he neglects the world around him.

Innovation is often seen as the deployment of cutting-edge technologies. However, even with the best intentions, innovators can fall into the trap of the Compulsive Solution Syndrome, where they lose sight of users' needs and obsessively pursue the best technical solutions.

The danger of technology focus

Overemphasizing technology in innovation can lead innovators to lose sight of users' real problems. John Smith, an expert in innovation management, emphasizes, "Technology is a tool, not an end in itself".

The Compulsive Solution Syndrome in action

This syndrome manifests when innovators take every customer feedback seriously and respond with more features and technologies. Laura Brown, an expert in Design Thinking, warns, "The temptation to respond to every customer feedback with more features can lead to overly complicated solutions".

Henry Ford's famous question, "If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses," illustrates the bias towards solutions like vehicles. Customers know their unmet needs, not the solutions. The question an innovator should have asked is, "What jobs do customers want to accomplish with (faster) horses?"

The importance of user-centeredness

To overcome the Compulsive Solution Syndrome, it is crucial to prioritize users' needs. Chen Li, a renowned UX designer, emphasizes, "User-centeredness should not be a buzzword but a fundamental part of the innovation process".

Innovators must learn to strike a balance between technical brilliance and user needs. Every innovation department should consider the approach of Human-Centered Business as part of its DNA since we innovate for people to help them perform their tasks better.

Strategies for overcoming

Close collaboration with users, iterative prototype development, and a focus on user-friendliness are crucial strategies. Frameworks like Jobs to be Done and the corresponding mindset help companies focus on users' perspective. By involving users throughout the entire development process, innovators ensure that their products and solutions truly meet users' needs [4].


The Compulsive Solution Syndrome poses a real threat to innovation but is not insurmountable. By focusing on users' needs and finding a balance between technical brilliance and user-centeredness, innovators can develop more effective and user-friendly solutions.

Yetvart Artinyan

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