Table of Contents
WHEN? Whenever you talk how to create product or promotion.
WHY? Avoid creating stuff for a customer that doesn’t exist.
PROBLEM SCENARIOS & ALTERNATIVES
Problem Scenarios are where you identify specific objectives for your product (if you’re familiar with ‘jobs to be done’, it’s the same basic idea). They may be tasks, habits, or desires that you’ll deliver against. These should be real and observable, hence the emphasis on ‘alternatives’: if these problem scenarios exist, the customer is doing something about them now. It’s important you understand those alternatives- your proposition will need to be better.
VALUE PROPOSITIONS, ASSUMPTIONS & EXPERIMENTS
The Lean Startup is about identifying your key assumptions and proving (or disproving) them as quickly and efficiently as possible. Keeping the venture focused on this in the early days will save you lot of money and grief.
WHAT? Testable definitions of the value you’re creating.
WHEN? Before you invest time in building things.
WHY? To avoid building something no one wants.
CUSTOMER DISCOVERY & EXPERIMENTS
Successful innovators are constantly learning and constantly testing what works. This applies across personas, problem scenarios, propositions, as well as usability. The materials here will help you get started and focus on the right kind of testing at the right time.
WHAT? Scientific testing of your concepts.
WHEN? On most major decisions about what to build or how to sell it.
WHY? Know you’re right (or wrong) and stay focused on getting better.
USER STORIES & PROTOTYPES
If you’re a technology-based startup, this is probably where you’re spending most of your money. Aligning your product development investments with the items above is critical for obvious reasons. Alignment with the Personas & Problem scenarios are particularly important. The User Stories make for a great transition point and the practice or prototyping will help you think through what you *really* had in mind.
PRODUCT & PROMOTION
These are resources you may find useful for tuning and improving your product. The style guide, for example, is something that every company and every product can use to improve the consistency of their user experiences and the focus of their execution.
WHAT? Tools for making your product better.
WHEN? I would say these are applicable to any product if the tool is new to you.
WHY? Keep making your product and your approach to working it better.
MANAGING WITH AGILE
Agile is evolving into a vehicle for applied innovation at the team level, particularly for anything digital. If you’re looking for a way to organize and focus yourself and/or your team around Venture Design, I highly recommend the agile approaches described below.
WHAT? A methodology for innovation.
WHEN? When you’re looking for a way to organize the work.
WHY? Don’t get overwhelmed- get going (and keep going).
BUSINESS MODEL GENERATION
The 40+ page business plan that no one reads may be going out of style, but strong, testable business models are more important than ever. This material will help you get started with the Business Model Canvas, a simple one-page tool for designing and discussing business models.
WHAT? A tool for describing and discussing business models.
WHEN? Whenever a discussion of strategy and business model matters.
WHY? Be explicit, but don’t get bogged down in extraneous detail.
I love enterprise software and I love IT. But it could be so much better- failures rates are as high as 50-70% by some reckonings. A little bit of disciplined innovation can go a long way and that’s what these tools are about.
WHAT? Tutorials and methods for applying design and innovation methodologies to IT.
WHEN? Whenever you have an IT project of any substantial size.
WHY? You can massively improve your odds of success with a little design work up front.