Is VR a solution looking for a problem

What is your problem?

I believe we as humans are very solution focused by nature. Which is often good. We see something is not working and try to find a solution to get it to work.

But sometimes that makes us forget about first understanding what the problem we are trying to solve really is.

Especially when it comes to startups and innovations that can be an issue. Most new products and innovative companies fail. Why is that?

“Most startups that fail are a solution looking for a problem.”

Oskar Glauser

I think a big part of it is that they often are creating a solution without a real problem as a start.

What problem does VR really solve?

Take the whole VR initiative from Meta/Facebook as an example. They pivoted the whole company into a solution, even changing its name. But what is really the problem VR solves?

I understand there are some clear use cases like interesting games, architecture simulations and cooperating in designing in 3D. But so far I haven’t seen any mainstream use cases that are enough of a problem solved by VR.

Change the target group

Sometimes the solution you have created could also be applied to a clear problem just if you change who has the problem.

If you can’t come up with a good enough problem to solve, try changing the target group. Try picking a completly different target group from what you first tried.

So next time you come up with a cool idea, vision or demo. Ask yourself the really hard question. What is the problem you are solving and for whom?

And always, at least try starting with the problem. Not the solution and later find the problem.

I know how tempting it can be.

Solutions are often obvious when you know the problem

I find it to be very valuable to collect lists of problems. Trying to get to the bottom of what the problem really is.

“A problem well stated is a problem half solved.”

John Dewey

If you have well formulated problems the solutions often come by themselves. At least it makes it much easier.

So write down real problems you have, or your friends, or users. Collect them as valuables.

Then the answer will come naturally.