Very often, product thinkers have hunches. Hunches about how something can be made better. Hunches about problems worth solving for, worth going after.
But hunches are very different from their big brother, ideas.
Ideas are high-quality and refined when they appear in our minds.
Hunches feel like low-quality ideas. Many times, we discard hunches because they look hazy and extremely unclear.
Ideas come with a force of conviction. Ideas appear around problems we’re very sure are indeed problems – they occur in spaces we understand really well enough.
Hunches, though, come with headwinds of doubt. This is because hunches are brand new and likely original. Nothing close to what you had a hunch about exists in the real world. We need to entertain hunches several times in our minds and hearts to ensure our doubts don’t kill the hunch.
When we have ideas, they consume our mental space so much. We sometimes lose sleep imagining possibilities that would occur when our ideas come to life because we’re extremely certain they’ll work.
Hunches, on the other hand, are ephemeral. They appear in brief moments and they get drowned in the vast ocean of our everyday lives. Often, we don’t realize that we’ve had a hunch about something until we run into it more than a couple of times.
Ideas are easily embraced by people when you sell them. People tend to “get it” when you explain ideas and understand the value those ideas will bring to the world, almost instantly.
Hunches, on the other hand, get dismissed by people immediately. Sad as it might seem, hunches don’t even get embraced by the person who got the hunch, fast enough.
You can build out comprehensive versions of ideas and launch them without any validation, because of all the factors I’ve listed above.
Hunches need to be tested, often piece by piece. It takes years of validation and refining for these pieces to come together, for people to see their true potential.
What hunches have you had that recently that you’re trying to hold on to?