Find unmet needs

Unmet Need.

Successful innovations satisfy a need – a real and specific user need that is currently not met. This tool helps to define an unmet need that will naturally give rise to relevant and distinctive ideas or innovations.

"People don't want quarter-inch drills. They want quarter-inch holes."

Professor Theodore Levitt

We can use this tool in a workshop, having analysed any research or insights we have on the issue.

1. Whose unmet need is it?
We gather as much information about the user as we can, using the Personas tool if needed. What motivates them? What makes them distinctive? What keeps them awake at night? Draw or find a picture of a user and give the individual a name.

2. What is their unmet need?
We define this, being as specific as possible and trying to get to the root of the problem. Are your unmet needs new, thought provoking, unambiguous and written in plain language? One technique for defining a crisp unmet need is to ask ‘why’ several times until we discover the root cause.

3. How is this unmet need currently overcome?
What workarounds currently exist for this unmet need? Workarounds are ways in which users get around a problem themselves. They give us clues about how our innovation will have to work. If users don’t have their own solution, what are they forced to do as an alternative? Or do they do nothing?

4. Why has this unmet need not been satisfied?
Why haven’t we (or our competitors) created an innovation that caters for this need? For example is there a lack of technology or are solutions currently too expensive? Is it a new need?

5. Why is it important to meet this need?
State our argument about why this unmet need is the most important amongst others we have considered. We need to quantify the importance of this unmet need to us, our partners, our customers or the market in general. So, is this a significant revenue opportunity? Will it open up new markets? Could it transform our brand?



Use the Personas tool first to gain an understanding of our user.
Have a look at the Jam Designer tool for an idea of how to create a workshop to define unmet needs.
Check out our Social Listening service that helps generate insight into unmet needs using social media.
Consider a Crowdsourcing Platform to generate insights.

Post a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.