Creative Problem Solving

In September 2022, the Roomba vacuum turned twenty.

Over thirty million sucking scooters were sold. Price is part of the product’s success. Competitively priced to other traditional vacuums, the robots offer customers great value.

But Roombas have a problem. They are loud. Especially the cheaper models. One simple review read “Loud AF!”

Henry Ford quipped that his customers wanted faster horses. Don’t build what they do want, Steve Jobs said, build what they will want.

Okay. Try that. Ask customers what they want, or will want.

Here’s what they’ll say: better, faster, sooner, delivered, and stronger. Oh, and make it cheaper. Quieter too.

Roomba’s customers want cheap and quiet, opposing features. But what does quiet mean? What does loud mean?

It’s how much customers hear. Through a simple solution, the Roomba team reduced the noise complaints around their vacuums - a schedule. If the cleaners ran while homeowners were away they were quiet AF.

Customers know what they want, but can’t describe it because they don’t have the business’s tools. That’s the entrepreneur’s job, see problems and create solutions.

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