We at Build have long advocated for an innovation strategy based on the answer to a simple question: "What job is your customer trying to get done?"

Yet this fails to address what to do once the job is done. That's the predicament dating website HowAboutWe.com found itself in, writer Vivian Giang explains in an article for Business Insider.

HowAboutWe differs from most dating sites in that users don't post profiles and browse for matches. Instead, users post ideas for dates and interested parties take them up on them to see whether sparks fly.

Cofounder Aaron Schildkrout tells Giang that sparks indeed flew--and they burst into a problem. "We've connected many thousands of people who are now in relationships and have gotten married," he says. "Somebody emailed us the other day with a picture of a baby they have; they met on HowAboutWe. The problem is, once they connect and they're in a relationship, they have no use for our product."

So, HowAboutWe sought to solve a problem that awaits many lovebirds after Cupid's strike. "HowAboutWe for Couples was created to avoid the endless cycle of Netflix and Chinese food that many couples find themselves in," Giang writes. "The [service orchestrates] discounted dates, which include eating the smelliest foods in Chinatown or participating in a dumpling-making class. Members can sign up, pay, and reserve their spot through the site. Then all they need to do is show up."

This kind of product evolution is an example of how companies' offerings need to grow with their customers. Here's another: In 1979, outdoor clothing manufacturer L.L. Bean realized selling adventure gear was one thing, but providing the adventure itself could be a whole other revenue source. The company launched L.L. Bean Outdoor Discovery Schools, which offers guided activities and classes in kayaking, shooting, fly fishing, and more.

Published on: Nov 26, 2013