The process of turning guesses into fact – the hammer, nail and wood story
So you have an idea that its been crowd sourced and people love it! You have a business sponsor willing to take your idea but now your asking yourself – how on earth am I going to implement it? Would it work really?
I am a big believer of using Start up thinking in a corporate environment to move an idea into reality. At my work I often use frameworks advocated by Eric Ries in Lean Start up – which I often call the “nail”, Steve Blank on customer discovery – which I like to call the “wood” and incorporate a little Alberto Savoia‘s pretotyping – which I call the “hammer“. I know its stretched out analogy – but play along with me! Does the “nail” (ie MVP) pass through the wool easily (ie be accepted by customers) when you are using the hammer (ie the process of conducting the test)? If so, keep progress, else pivot your approach and just another nail!
A minimal viable product (MVP) can be used against an agree set of hypotheses to validate whether an idea will work. Now there are few ways to do this and depends on where you are at in your hypotheses.
Pretotyping is about testing whether an idea will actually solve a customer problem (ie will it be used) while Prototyping tests whether one can actually can build the solution in viable way.
By testing I mean turning these those assumptions or “guesses” (i.e. your hypotheses) into real solid fact.
1. Exploration Method
Based on ethnographic research techniques, this method is basically exploring the solution through conversation. You need to first ensure that the person you are interviewing fits your customer target – ideally early adopters of your solution who will help you validate your assumptions. Here are few statements to start with:
- “Tell me about the last time you…”
- “How are you currently solving [insert problem]?”
- “How/where did you search for a solution?”
- “If you could wave a magic wand and have anything you wanted, what would it look like?”
2. Pitch Method
This method is basically used to engage with your target customer and try to see if they are willing “invest” in your solution by getting them to exchange some form of “currency” (eg an email, a tweet, an verbal agreement or even money). Its also known as smoke testing.
Forms of Pitch
- Landing Page – I’ve used this and actually set up one using http://launchrock.com/
- Cold Email
- Cold Call
- Gimmick Sign
- Fake Ad (ie gumtree, ebay)
- Walking into a store and pitching the owner
- Cash $$$
- Letter of Intent
- Email Addresses
- Pay With a Tweet
- Taking a Meeting
3. Concierge Method