“Innovation is meeting an unmet need,” was an insight by James Kimmel, co-founder and CEO of Epic Seats when I interviewed him last week for my upcoming book on innovation leadership. Ever since our conversation I’ve been assessing everything through the lens of “a need being met… or not” and it’s fascinating how the world begins to open up in an exciting way.
James told me how Epic Seats got started by recognizing an unmet need for “consignment” tickets to sports events. It was actually an unintended consequence of another business idea James and his buddy Scott were starting. They originally thought they’d be in the business of organizing trips for football fans to go to games all around the country. Their first trip was to a game in Ann Arbor, MI in 2002. Unfortunately, it turned out that several people canceled and the guys were left with extra tickets in their hands. When James and Scott decided to sell the leftover tickets on eBay, they realized there was a sweet, untapped opportunity to re-sell unused tickets.
Epic Seats is now an established 12-year old industry leader with a solid track record of outstanding service. They are also known for the supportive and fun company culture where people want to work so badly that they even take pay cuts to work there. It was brilliant how the two young football fans observed the need in the market place and put their smarts to fulfill that need.
This made me wonder what kinds of needs that nobody is fulfilling or that could be done better am I passing by or ignoring in my daily life?Whoever realized there is a need for cappuccino or a latte to go? Whoever realized people would buy toilet paper on a roll? When was it that paying for things on the internet become normal?