To launch a successful startup, one has to hit many dead-ends. The more you know about solutions that won’t work, the higher the chances of arriving at solid ground.
What we encourage our clients is to deliberately postpone the production until all the potential ideas have been tested.
Moving an idea into production comes with costs in the form of time, energy, and resources. Usually releasing a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) requires up to a few months of work. Hence, the “Undo” button is going to be costly so to speak if the fundamental concept is not reliable and fully validated.
So if there were five ideas on the table in terms of addressing the identified need of a customer segment, we’d strongly suggest our clients test all of them.
Even if you managed to release a successful MVP, still the market odds are against you. Still to this date, about 9 out of 10 new startups fail.
You can increase the chances of the success of your enterprise by making sure all surfaced ideas have been evaluated with the market inputs and verified by customers’ feedback.
That’s why we encourage our clients to adopt a mindset of experimentation. Experimentation is the backbone of the scientific age and all the breakthroughs of our modern society.
would increase your chances of success and reduce your costs in the long run.
You may think? Okay, this is cool but we don’t have enough budget for it. OR this sounds like a long process.
We beg you to differ. It can be done within a few weeks. All you need is a list of great ideas and well-put hypotheses. The game is to test them as quickly as possible with market inputs.
In this article, our aim is to inspire you by introducing some common experiments you can run to test your ideas. This is by no means an exhaustive list; please treat it as an inspiration list.
The overall strategy is to create a charming and fake version of the product and expose it to your audience. Fake it until you make it!
If you expose an almost-looking-real version of an idea to your target audience and if they get overwhelmingly excited about it, then you’re on the right path.
Be Careful that your target audience shall get really excited about the idea. When you’re testing the idea, they should use the terms such as “Oh I cannot wait to introduce this app to my friends” voluntarily or “this app design is so great that I can spend hours using it”.
You’re looking for information given to you voluntarily by your target audience — their straightforward indication of excitement towards your solution and NOT your interpretation of what they meant.
The founders of Airbnb had an idea that looked weird and somewhat laughable in the eyes of so many.
Did they stop? No. They knew that they cannot trust their intuition nor that of others. Many breakthrough innovations sounded ridiculous in the beginning.
They asked themselves. What’s the fastest way that we can evaluate our idea? They looked at themselves until one of them came up with such a straightforward yet brilliant idea. Let’s use our own flat to test the idea.
And oh boy, after running a few trials, their idea got validated strongly one experiment after another.
A landing page is the most classic example. Work out the core value offerings of the solution, communicate it clearly in a landing page and drive paid traffic to it, and gauge the engagement.
You’re thinking of setting up a new fashion brand that uses sustainable materials to make clothes for plus size people and you want to target the German market.
What’s your best bet to test this? Of course, you can set up an online shop using Shopify etc.
But is there a faster way? Yes. You can start with an IG profile today, talk about your mission and values, and share photos of the clothes you have designed so far.
And gauge the reaction. You can learn so much through this phase of discovery and improve your product offerings without producing many products or setting up a shop.
If you’re in the Business to Business (b2b) world, then LinkedIn is for you. You can test so many of your hypotheses through the communication features made available for you. You can create slider posts, polls, or Linkedin groups.
Also, you can create ads and expose them to your target audience and gauge the engagement.
If you’re designing cool mugs, what’s the fastest way to test them? Find a few local shops that sell mugs and ask them to place your mugs in there.
And see how many of the mugs will be sold in a specific time period. For example, if you sold 15 mugs within a week, with no proper branding and advertisement, then consider yourself lucky. You’re on the right path to success.
What if you are brewing your own beer with a few friends? Then you need to hit up all the flow markets in your city for a few weekends and gauge the engagement. How many bottles have you sold on average in each flow market? What kind of feedback and reaction have you received?
What’s your energy level after a few weekends of engaging your target audience? Are you still excited? Yes? Then let’s go!
Are you trying to do good in your city or community? And you have an idea to serve them better? Then put up a flyer and see if neighbors react to it. You can literally create a flyer within a few hours and have it up in your neighborhood the day after.
We hope this article inspires you to be more courageous and experimental with your ideas.
Checkout your idea log. Is there an idea you can test this weekend?
Join our growing community Design Thinking and Innovation – Only Workshops
Receive handpicked content on design, UX, Innovation and sustainability every week