In the 2nd period we discuss about prototyping, how to turn your idea into a real life product or service.
In the introduction, we take a number of examples illustrating that converting an idea into a product is a tricky process, because the same opportunity can lead to a successful product or a big failure.
The convergent Technologies example illustrates in a striking manner, how without altering the project, but by changing some features in design of the final product, the venture can multiply its sales potential by a thousand.
Building a product starts with remembering why businesses fail: in 78% of the case, the root of the failure lies in market issues: customers don’t buy or competition kills your venture.
The practical advice for conducting that process are:
Avoid using friends and family or any close network as a test base, because their feedback is always biased
Founder must do the job. It can not be outsourced, as the feedback is usually negative, so it must be conducted by the people who have the power to change the course of actions, make decision, when they are forced to listen to bad news.
Do not sell: it is not about persuading customers that your product is great. It is about understanding, exploring, learning what matters
The whole process is organized around the idea of prototyping as soon as possible your idea, leading to the concept of MVP (Minimum Viable Product), coined in the Lean Startup method, that is about finding, as early as possible, a representation (even very rough) of your product or service, with the smallest number of features (or no feature at all sometimes) that allows to interact with customer and gather relevant feedback.
The Design approach focuses on “experience prototyping” instead of the product itself: it consists in putting the emphasis on the context of usage, the environment, the feeling, the experience, more than the product itself. We give several examples and tools for putting experience prototyping in action.
And the last important topic covered in this week lecture is “pivoting”. Throughout that process of discovering, learning about what works, what a product or service should be doing, every venture gets stuck from time to time in a dead end. This is the moment to consider pivoting.
Pivoting is about considering a major change in the product, the business model. It is difficult, because the signs that it is time to pivot never come loud and clear. It is in essence a judgment call, and it raises some serious leadership and management issues, as it is about explaining to the team that what has been done doesn’t work, and the venture needs to consider a totally different direction, while keeping at the same time the team energy, focus and drive at its maximum.
We shared with you a number of additional content, including places and resources where you can build prototypes for your next venture. We strongly encourage you to visit these places, watch the video, as a key complement to the ideas developed in the course of these lectures…