Consider the value to others
This is the “zeroth law” of product innovation: a product is only worthwhile to develop if it creates real value for other people. Usually, the value is solving a specific problem. But it can also provide fuzzier value, like being quirky and entertaining (solving the problem of boredom).
Here’s an example of an idea that looked great, but didn’t deliver enough value: in 2013, an American invented a new kitchen appliance that made “freshly-squeezed juice” using proprietary juice packs. Presenting it as a disruptive innovation that would revolutionize the juice business, Juicero raised an incredible $120 million in venture capital investment.
Juicero was marketed as a convenient and healthy way to make juice at home. It hit the market in 2016 with an initial price of $699, but soon after, people learned they could simply squeeze the juice packs with their own hands, extracting the juice even faster than the machine could.
It turned out that the juicer was an unnecessary waste of counter space. Worse yet, the juice packs were more expensive than similar drinks available in every grocery store. The company was defunct a year later.
With a great brand name, sleek product design, and strong fundraising, Juicero did a lot of things right. But even $120 million of funding couldn’t overcome the fundamental lack of value it provided to customers.