Image you are taking a test. You are presented with several word problems and are instructed to pick one to solve. Instead what you do is write your own problem – one that you think is a good one to solve, and answer that one. You’re so confident that the teacher will be impressed because you thought of it and you love it and you think it’s a great solution. But when you get the test back, it has a big red F on it. How could that be? Your solution is sound and well thought out. You were invested in it! The teacher explains that while the solution seems like a good one, you didn’t solve any of the problems he asked you to solve. You made up your own based on what you believe. This is a bad way to take tests. But this happens all the time with new products or services. I will come up with an idea I think is great, sink time and money into it, and ultimately it will fail. The reason is I’m trying to solve problems people don’t think they have. The key to a successful product or service is solve actual problems.
We are approaching the end of another school year. Students & teachers alike are clamoring for the sweet freedom that summer brings. When I was in middle school and high school I remember looking forward to summer so much that I told my parents I wish I could skip the school year and just have summer vacations. Of course like many kids my age, my short-sightedness got the best of me. Not long after that final school bell my brothers and I would be out in the front yard when one of us would utter the 2 words that parents dread hearing: “I’m bored.” We were so focused on getting to summer break that we didn’t take much time to think about what we would do once we got there. The same thing could happen when you work remotely: just because you can go anywhere, doesn’t mean you can work anywhere. A little preparation will help.
Imagine you’re watching a movie. In this thriller, the protagonist is in a dark ally pursuing the bad guy. All seems quite when out of the corner of your eye the killer come into view. He sneaks up on our hero, raises his weapon, and gets ready to strike. You scream, “LOOK OUT,” but no one can hear you. You can’t interact with the film; you know this, but you scream anyway. But what if it wasn’t a movie? What if you’re in a classroom, learning some complicated theory. You have questions, but the instructor can’t hear you. You, like our protagonist, are out of luck. That’s a terrible way to learn. It’s also what could happen when Flipped Classrooms are done wrong.