I got my Harvard Business Review in the mail yesterday, and aside from RomneyCare architect Michael E. Porter as the centerpiece of the mag discussing "how to fix capitalism" (spare me), there's a little callout in another article that contains a Drucker quote:
Study what your customers are doing with your product. Be aware that, as Peter Drucker famously said, "The customer rarely buys what the business thinks it sells him."The callout is entitled: "Four Ways to Uncover Unmet Needs."
Unmet Needs = Vacuum
Your product can be what gets pulled into that vacuum, if you're paying attention to the fact that there is a vacuum.
In this online HBR article, disruption expert Scott Anthony comes up with 31 innovation questions. He too cites this quote from Drucker.
What should I look for? As Drucker said, "the customer rarely buys what the business thinks it sells him;" look for a job-to-be-done, an important problem that is not adequately solved by current solutions.That right there encapsulates the difference between a successful business and a soon-to-be-bankrupt business. Some businesses come to the market with an offering already defined, and the business pushes its offering harder and harder at the market. Other businesses let the market shape them by listening closely to the discomfort of the market's unmet needs.
There is no need for pushing the business at people when the right solution is crafted - the business and its targeted solution get pulled into the vacuum.
The more effortless business is, the more sustainable it is. Discern the vacuum, craft the solution that gets pulled in fastest by those needing an answer, and then scale upward.