Innovating in the Enterprise III: Building the Right Product

Learning Objectives

What is it about building things that’s so exciting? It’s exciting to see what might happen when we’re done. Sometimes this can lead to building too much too soon with the opposite result: major disappointments that derail projects and dampen morale.

In this session, you’ll learn how to link best practice needfinding and design with product (and promotion) development. You’ll also learn how to avoid premature overbuilding and waste, instead organizing your program with stepwise, success-based progress.


  • Hands-on experience linking agile user stories and storyboards to personas and value propositions
  • Hands-on experience mapping out and monitoring the complete customer (or user) experience
  • Techniques for decomposing your idea into a set of UI components and then selecting and diagnosing the applicability of comparable existing implementations
  • Know-how and do’s + dont’s for creating prototypes and wireframes
  • Techniques for structuring key user experience assumptions and testing them to know if you’re on the right track or need to revise


The following are the workshop slides:

Preparation & Prerequisites

There are no prerequisites.

Instructor notes: The checklists below describe ‘minimum viable preparation’ and additional related preparation.

Minimum Viable Preparation

  1. Review the slides
  2. Prep the materials below

Additional Preparation

Review the tutorials on the underlying tools and frameworks from the exercises:

  1. Personas
  2. Business Model Canvas
  3. Storyboarding

If you’re interested in the surrounding body of work on Venture Design, see that link and if you’re interested in a structure program for product design & entre/intra-preneurship, check out Startup Sprints.


1. Index Cards

While Post-It’s are more in fashion for design workshop type events, these exercises are designed around index cards. The reason is that the students will progressively layer more information on to the cards. That said, use whatever works for you; just make sure to review the exercises and have advice for your participants on how they’ll organize their work. I do not recommend doing these on the computer- it tends to create writers block and a desire to create something more permanent than this material is meant to be.

2. Storyboarding Squares

Cutting-Storyboard-Squares STORYBOARDING SQUARES

For workshops, group exercises, and generally getting started with storyboarding, I like to use these paper squares and a sharpie/pen. The PDF you can download here has a set of typical scenes which you can print out and use. They do need to be cut or ripped since there are two/page. You’ll find cutting marks and the individual pages and what I actually like to do is use a metal ruler and just rip them (see left). I created them with the online tool, and you may find you want to go there and create your own (not to mention creating digital storyboards once you’re ready). If you want to use the above squares in the PDF on, you can copy the storyboard template using the preceding link.

3. Previews Squares (optional)

These are strictly optional, but when I bind up the storyboarding squares for students, I noticed that they then were spending a lot of time sorting through them to find the backdrops they want. The agenda below is pretty speedy, and I found that if I put up full (8.5″x11″) ‘previews’ of what was on the different squares, it helped the students decide and then locate what they wanted quicker. If you want to print these and tape them to the wall, you may find it helps the experience:

4. A Product Idea to Work

This can be any project you’re currently working.

5. The Venture Design Template

You’ll use this in the post-class workshop time to organize your work.