Member Blog: Niall El-Assaad
Niall El-Assaad encourages everyone to be innovative!
Stop Looking For Solutions - Start Looking For Problems!
Sitting there thinking you don't have any good ideas? Rubbish, I'm sure you have loads. Being disabled means there are problems in front of us wherever we look. These challenges are your ideas, even if you don't know what they are yet.
Think of all the things that you have had a problem with, found hard to do or could be easier. Write them all down or add them to a list on your phone as they happen. Do this every time a challenge comes up and you will have a great start in no time.
I was stuck driving from petrol station to petrol station to get help filling my car up. Didn't have any idea of the solution, but I knew I had a problem - another problem to add to my list of daily challenges.
Next up is clearly defining the problem. This is of vital importance it sets the goal for what you want to achieve. Better still it lets you describe your solution when you are telling people about it. Knowing what you do and being able to articulate it is critical.
Why don't companies do more to help? Often its not because they don't want to, its because the solution would be a problem or hard for them. Look at the problem from both sides, what are the problems that a service provider has in helping? Think of all the reasons why a company doesn't do anything. Solving the other side of the problem is the most important part for success.
Ok, so now you have a big list of problems. Don't rush into your idea yet. Find others and ask them if they have the same problems. Search on the Internet and read forums. You'll know pretty fast if its a problem for others. If it is then its worth solving.
As I'm sure you know, everyones disability is different. Speaking to others will give you a wide view of the problem. If you know others are having similar problems you have found your users.
On my HUGE list the one that bothered me the most was getting fuel for my car. 30 minutes on the Internet showed me many had the same problem. The charity Disabled Motoring UK were campaigning for the exact problem. Looked like a green light straight away.
You might find an existing solution, don't feel bad - this is always good news.
If its a good solution thats well implemented then you don't have a problem anymore - hurray!
Current options might be bad - like the choices available for getting petrol.
Other solutions confirm the problem needs fixing. You can do it in a much better way and disrupt it completely with a much better solution.
With so many problems which should you focus on? If you are going to spend your time and effort building something then you need to make sure you will keep at it. Something you strongly believe in solving is important, if you don't care so much will anyone else?
Now you have a clear problem you can think of clever ideas to solve it!