There exist many methods, including surveys and lead user research, which are suited to studying existing users and trying to figure out from their usage was might be a good path for improvement. Investment in research and development that stems from these types of analyses of existing users tend to go for more features, higher performance along traditional dimensions, and of course, higher price potential. These are often called sustaining innovations, as opposed to disruptive innovations.
Disruptive innovations do not take root in lead users, but in marginal, almost non-users. Marginal markets seek innovations that are customized to them, and thus simple to use, convenient, and affordable innovations come about. Disruptive innovations have markets that are harder to study head on, because they are not regular, predictable, known to be profitable customers. For this reason, they are often ignored by established companies (i.e., incumbents).
Finding these marginal customers requires a different approach. These are people who do not normally pay for the higher end of the service or product. Instead of paying for the high end applications, they simply make do with poorer alternatives, such as family crafts and old technology. For instance, we often see adults who have been divorced trying to find dates without online dating websites roaming in awkward places 😉
We seek to disrupt the market for market research. We don’t seek to replace professional market research firms and consultants. Rather we provide a tool that entrepreneurs can use for prescreening their ideas, filtering out those with low earnings potential and earmarking those with high profit potential. It also helps them to consider more options, including nearby cities and related business types, to overcome the problems of passion and roots, that is, a myopia for the familiar.
We think LaunchScore is at least as good as the cheapest market research reports available out there today. So we are coming from the bottom of the market, potentially pushing more work to market research professionals who now have a basis to start with when an entrepreneurs comes in. In fact, we are linking to local market research firms across the country and adding them as resources into launchscore.com