Why take time to frame your challenge? Because if you don’t know what you are trying to solve and who you are trying to solve it for, anything can look good.
Seth Godin’s recent post, Who are Your Customers is a great start to understanding your target audience. Your audience is not just demographics. (Would it help your organization serve me if you knew I am a white, 40ish female?) You need to understand your audience in order to support or inspire them. Do you know where they turn for resources and insights (who they trust)? Do you know the challenges they face? Do you understand the environments they work in?
Understanding your audience and the challenges they need to solve (not what they want, what they need to accomplish) will help you to frame the challenge your organization can address to better serve your members.
Clayton Christensen and colleagues developed the Job To Be Done theory that essentially says your audience is not seeking a specific product or service, they are purchasing or hiring solutions to help them solve a problem. A simple example, you don’t need a drill, you typically need a hole. A drill is simply one of the tools you could hire to help you solve the challenge.
To truly innovate in your space, don’t just watch what your audience purchases or the products they say they need, understand the challenges they face and the context they face them in.