Your Idea & the Lean Canvas (Problem/Solution)

For the entirety of my blog I will focus on an app that allows users to track public transport from their phones. It will show routes, journey times and estimated arrival time all in real time on something similar to Google maps. The app is called ‘My Travel’.


So you have an idea? Great! But where do you start? Well there are countless things you will have to think of before you you even start making anything yet, such as what business methodology to proceed with and what revenue streams you are aiming to reach etc.

Believe it or not but there are good and bad ways to write down ideas, simply jotting down an idea is great but what really sets it out above the rest? What customers are you trying to aim for?


The Lean Canvas is a great way to fully sum up your idea in a simple and quick overview, it covers a wide range of aspects of an idea such as Customer Segments and a quick description of the Problem & the Solution.

lean-canvas_blank

Below I will briefly explain the Problem and Solution section of the Lean Canvas is and why they are needed along with some examples.

Problem
The Problem (Along with Customer Segment) usually drive the rest of the canvas, because of this, they are usually completed together however, to me, the Problem and Solution seems to make more sense so I will put them together. For the problem section, you need to describe the top 1 – 3 problems that your idea is trying to solve.

Examples

  1. I can’t trust when my public transport says when it’s going to arrive– Even if the notice board or the website says it arrives at a certain time, I can never be sure of when it arrives.
  2. I find it difficult to know what route my bus takes and what stops it stops at – I find it difficult to understand the public transport notice boards.
  3. I can’t fully plan a time fit day – I want a whole day out but I can’t reliably plan my day which includes transport.

Solution
In the Solution section, you need to identify solutions to combat the problems that have been made apparent in the Lean Canvas. A good way to start would be to start listing the current alternatives (If there are any) to the idea that you have in mind, are there anyone else on Earth who does what you do? If so then list them.

Example

  1. The biggest alternative to my public transport app is Uber & the Arriva app because they both do similar things such as a transport tracker.

After you have listed your biggest competitors, you will need to list your solutions to your problems, because your solutions are untested hypotheses (Not validated) don’t get carried away by listing tons of solutions with large amounts of text, keep it simple! 1 – 3 solutions should be sufficient. Listing your top features would be a good start.

Examples

  1. My app can track the whereabouts of any public transport which means that users know exactly when it is due to arrive, it even calculates it based on traffic.
  2. Google Maps is quite easy to read, therefore, because my app uses a system very similar to it, users should understand what routes the transport takes easier than public transport notice boards.
  3. My app will include a journey planner where you can set ‘Alerts’ to alert you when transport is due to arrive, you can also see it in real time.

The point in a Lean Canvas is to keep it simple, you don’t need huge paragraphs explaining every single reason why the Uber app isn’t as good as MyTravel, simple and straight to the point is perfect for this type of exercise.

Shortened Down Version


In conclusion, the problem segment requires you to list 1 – 3 problems that you idea aims to tackle and the solutions section requires you to list 1 – 3 solutions on how you aim to tackle the problems.

Thanks for reading, keep up to date with my next blog! Next up will be about Customer Segments & Unique Value Proposition

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