Solvers identify challenges, then test and develop new concepts, code, and inventions to meet their needs. They work on a problem with a singular focus because their life – or the life of a loved one – often depends on their ability to find or invent a solution. Some Solvers openly share their designs online for other people to build on. Others keep their cards close to their vests, working inside regulatory and corporate structures.
Solvers attack problems.
This is the third post in a series that I’m writing to introduce the archetypes of the patient-led revolution (for my forthcoming book from MIT Press). The first post focused on Seekers. The second: Networkers. Today: Solvers.
Here’s what Solvers shared when I asked what advice they would give to others like themselves:
Stay angry. Channel that energy toward creating a solution. Write a manifesto. What are the worst aspects of the challenge you face? What would you change first, if you could?
Start building what you think should exist. Test it. Show people prototypes made out of cardboard, crayons, and sticky notes. Watch to see who finds it useful. What do they find valuable? Build up those features. What do they hate – or ignore? Fix those glitches fast. If you are also a Networker, leverage the lead users in your community to get expert feedback.
The ability to make constant, small improvements is an immense advantage over established companies who may be working on similar projects. Take advantage.
Solvers need resources. Which means you need investors and partners. Which means you need to learn how to pitch your ideas to both believers, who are excited about the future, and those who are more cautious. Create two pitch decks – one for the evangelists and the other for skeptics. Always be ready to switch gears, if necessary.
Now, your turn. If you are a Solver, please share some tips for people who have a fantastic product or service idea, but are not sure what to do next. How did you get started? What mistakes did you make? What were some of your lucky breaks — and how might you guide a fellow Solver toward that ladder?
(And yes, I intend to use these comments in my book or further articles about peer health innovation, so thank you in advance for your help!)
Image: Sharpest tool in the shed, by Lachlan Donald on Flickr.