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Identifying a Problem Worth Solving

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How do you know if a problem is worth solving? Big ones? Little ones? All of them? There are so many problems that it can be hard to identify which ones are worth solving. No single person can solve all the world’s problems, but several people attacking individual problems can make a big difference! 

The best way to make an impact is to find which problem you are most passionate about solving!

Self-Reflection

One of the first places to start is self-reflection. Think about and evaluate your personal experiences and interests. This is a great starting point to find a problem you’re passionate about.

At KinoSol we are deeply passionate about solving food waste in developing countries because of the negative impacts it has for smallholder farmers and families. The inequality that some people go hungry, while others have a surplus, was a problem we were passionate about!

Communication

Another place to identify a problem worth solving is through communication. Conversations with friends, family, or strangers can be very valuable when finding a problem worth solving. If you and others you know are constantly saying “Oh, it really frustrates me when..” or “Doesn’t it drive you nuts..” then this problem is causing pain. For more on pain points check out this blog post!  

Observation

You can also identify problems through observation. Say you’re on a plane and the person sitting next to you is frustrated because they do not have online access to their entertainment, creating a pain point. If you’re a regular traveler and you notice this is the case for numerous passengers, this problem is worth digging into further and coming up with a solution!  

KinoSol saw the pain experienced in developing countries through all our travels abroad. There was so much food that came into harvest at once and with limited access to resources, there was so much food that couldn’t be saved for the dry season. We believed we could solve this pain point for people, and make a difference by providing a technology that could help save more of their harvest. 

Reevaluate Current Solutions

Another way you can identify a problem worth solving is by reevaluating current solutions. There may be solutions out there that provide some help to a current problem but are only solving a portion of the issue or pain point. Meaning there is an opportunity to expand upon the current solution and provide something even greater. For example, if you’re an outdoor hiker you want a backpack that will be comfortable and is big enough to fit all of your gear. You think you’ve found the perfect backpack, but when you get out on the trail it starts raining and you find out your backpack isn’t waterproof the hard way. An improved solution would be a waterproof backpack. 

KinoSol was able to evaluate other solutions to food waste. When we looked at what was already being done, we found others creating dehydrators as well, though many relied upon electricity. We also saw that farmers were using traditional methods of drying food, where they laid it on a tarp and dried it in the open air. We wanted to improve upon these existing methods and create an improved method of drying that was easily accessible in rural communities.

Traditional method of drying crops
A traditional method of drying crops in Uganda.

Now that you have either discussed, observed, or evaluated current solutions of problems you want to solve, you should ask yourself this question: 

Does anyone else care enough about this issue?

In order to find out if this is just a problem that affects you, or if it affects a large amount of people, you need to talk to people and dive deeper into the problem. Use the observations and discussions you’ve had and start keeping track of how many people are affected. You can also research the issue and see if others are working on solving this problem. If you find there are others tackling this issue, and it affects a large number of people, it’s probably a problem worth solving. For more information and help talking to people and validating your problem check out our Validating your BIG idea course! 

When KinoSol dove into global food waste issues, we knew it was a problem that was worth solving. Why? Because we saw how it was causing many people pain in developing countries where food is not always available. We discovered others’ efforts to help eliminate food waste. This is accomplished in many ways! Businesses like Food For All and No Food Waste help eliminate food waste by distributing excess food to where there is none. While these are some of many solutions to tackle food waste, KinoSol decided to focus on smallholder farmers and producers of food in developing countries. Working to help them to save more of the crops they grow, create value-added products, and better support their families!

If you have your big idea and know your problem is worth solving then check out Launch Impact! The courses can help you take your first steps in solving social issues. Reach out to us! We would love to help you take your first steps in launching your impact!