Plato is credited with the statement that “necessity is the mother of invention.”  If it is the mother of invention, then it is also the parent of innovation.  A reasonable question follows, what is a necessity?

Edison put it this way, “I find out what the world needs.  Then I go ahead and try to invent it.”  We may come up with what someone wants, but is that enough?  Sometimes focusing on wants is enough, but often to have innovation success we need to reach the end user and determine their needs.

Needs in this sense does not mean the basic needs of life, but rather the things that we need to make our lives better.  This can be in our work or personal life.  Needs is getting past  superficial wants and wishes and finding out what needs to happen to make improve lives.  For example, I may want my smart phone to be purple, but I need the GPS directions to work.  If the GPS doesn’t work I could be late for an important meeting, or get lost and find myself in a difficult situation.

So as you look to your innovation, focus on needs.   If your innovation eliminates someone’s need, you are on the road to a successful innovation.