Truly Innovative Businesses Do Not Solve Customer Pain
Business plan guidelines often call for an explanation of the customer "pain" that the proposed business is to relieve. This thinking is too narrow. Large disruptive ideas often start with an idea which does not intend to address a pain point.
Consider the following examples, discussed in a Quora article.
What starts out as trivial often ends up being the most impactful of all, as Yishan Wong pointed out in one of the comments. Examples:
"Trade Pez dispensers online" -> a marketplace larger than many national economies (eBay)
"Tell your friends what you are doing" -> a global communications network (Twitter)
"Hook up at Harvard" -> a billion person network, disrupting governments (Facebook)
"Send money to your friends" -> disruptive payment network (Paypal)
What were the pain points being addressed? It is not clear.
The businesses were experimental, really, not designed to be pain-reducing.
Large ideas, big new businesses, often grow from successful executions of small innovative businesses, not from pain-reducing ones.
Maybe customer pain should not be a necessary criterion for funding new businesses.