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Lesson 2, Topic 2
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Ideation Loop

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Our ideation loop takes the design thinking process and aligns it with our ideation canvas to enable you to model out ideas at a higher level and test their viability.

In the form of canvas the ideation loop helps to model your idea quickly and compare more than one idea until you refine it to a point you know it’s a potentially feasible option to explore.

ldeation Loop 2

The advantages of doing this is:

  • Easy to understand: Because the canvas is on just a single page and is very visual, it’s very easy to understand.
  • Focussed: It removes any fluff that might have been present in a traditional business model. It’s all killer, no filler.
  • Flexible: It’s quick and easy to make changes to your model and sketch out different ideas.
  • Customer Focused: the canvas forces you through the phases of design thinking. It lets you get clear about the value you’re providing to your customers, and only then what it takes to deliver that value.
  • Shows Connections: The single-page graphical nature of the canvas shows how the different model parts interrelate to each other. This can be really difficult to ascertain from a traditional business plan.
  • Easy to Communicate: Because the canvas is so easy to understand, you’ll be able to share and explain it easily with your team, making it easier to get them on board with your vision.
ldeation Loop 2

Be mindful here how you frame the issues relating to the overall problem makes a difference to what you actually design your products or services to be. The secret is framing the issues supporting the problem regarding the obstacles preventing customers from achieving their desired outcomes with their old solutions.

 

The idea of the infinity loop is that it illustrates how all sections correlate and how when you work one section it will likely have an impact on the others, the more times you loop through each area and model it out, the more likely you are to refine and improve your ideas.

Ideation Loop: Problem

What does my world need
What is the Minimum Viable Problem

The concept of a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is common in the start-up community. It is normally regarded as an initial release of a product with enough features to satisfy early adopter customers and provide feedback for future product development.

The concept has parallels in the case of your customer’s Minimum Viable Problem. This is a business issue, opportunity or threat that is significant enough to justify action but manageable enough to allow a straightforward buying decision.

Defining and building a good minimum viable product is much harder than it sounds.  Finding that “one thing” you can do, which people want, is really about a lot more than picking one thing.  It combines solving the minimum valuable problem and all of the other things that go with it.  Solving for both the outside-in needs and the inside-out goals is critical.

 

The key questions to ask here are:

  • What does my world need?
  • What is the minimum viable problem?

Here’s an example of a big problem that Dropbox solved:

 “People want to SHARE files and are DEPENDENT on their pen drives”.

people impacted

Working through the problem, people enable you to empathise. The key questions to ask here are:

  • Who will purchase the product or service?
  • Who will be the end-user?
  • Who will the solution impact?
  • Who else needs to be considered?

Ideation Loop: People 

Who are the people impacted

The people section of the ideation loop is the people or stakeholders that would benefit most from a solution to the problem or opportunity. The people identified in this space could be users, customers, stakeholders, suppliers and even competitors who might benefit from your ideas. The primary focus in the initial stages of the loop is to clarify the users and customers (sometimes the user and the person who buys it; the customer is different).

Ideation Loop: Issues

What are the problems and issues of the people

Issues are about breaking the larger problem down into more minor problems or issues specific to each user or customer type. For example, Dropbox aimed to solve: 

“people want to SHARE files and are DEPENDENT on their USB drives”. 

But some of these issues of different customer types had helped them work out the best way to solve the problem and ensure the customer needs were met. For example; some of dropboxes potential customers might have explained their issues to be:

Customer A’s Issues: “I always forget my USB drive, when I need it most”

Customer B’s Issues: “ My USB breaks or doesn’t work, sometimes it corrupt the files”

Customer C’s Issues: “I don’t like carrying around multiple USB or hard drives, I would like all of my files to be accessible on any device at anytime”. 

    Issues

    The key questions to ask here are:

    • What are your customers’ frustrations in relevance to the problem?
    • What would they love to have instead?
    • What would wow your customers?
    Aim

    For example:

    Customer issue a > solution = goal high-level feature of the solution 

    Customer issue b > solution = goal high-level feature of the solution 

    Customer issue c > solution = goal high-level feature of the solution

      Ideation Loop: Aim

      What are the ideal outcomes

      The aim enables you to set the objectives of potential solutions (products and services). A practical method in establishing the goals is to break down the minimum viable problem and associated issues into objective pairs that culminate in product concepts to solve the business problem.

      The key questions to ask here are:

      • What are the high-level features needed to provide a solution to the problem?
      • What metrics can we use to determine that we have solved the business problem?

       

      Solutions

      What are the product and or service solutions 

      Solutions is the section where you devise the minimum viable product or service solution you could bring to solve the problem and achieve the aims. Use this section to outline the high-level features that will ideally fulfil the product or service aims? This is the space where the vision of the real solution. A list of high-level features typically describes the vision of the product and or services.

      The key questions to ask here are:

      • What are we building, creating or delivering? 
      • What products/services must be built, to meet the business aims?

      Cultivate

      How will you make and or protect and grow resources

      How will this opportunity make money? This section identifies all of the different potential revenue streams and how these streams will help support the required business resources (equipment, material, people)

      In the initial phases, you might seek a business loan, an investment or self-fund, but any business’s goal is to gear it to make a profit as soon as possible. This section will work out at least three potential ways of making money through business sales. For example, if you were selling designer pots, you could sell these over a website, wholesale in nurseries and sell them to interior designers who are staging homes for sale.

      The key questions to ask yourself in this phase are:

      • What is the minimum viable product/service solution/s you could develop to be tried and tested?
      • What would be enough to be able to offer something to the market and sell it?
      • What’s the minimum features that need to be included in these first prototypes of your products or services?

      Prototyping 

      Design and deliver product and or service prototypes

      It’s easy to get excited and want to launch with the very best product or service, but you’ll quickly learn that sometimes you need version 2, 4 or 5 to achieve the very best. This section allows you to map out what the very first version of your product or service ideas could look like. 

      The key questions to ask yourself in this phase are:

      • What are the minimum viable product/service solution/s you could develop to be tried and tested?
      • What would be enough to be able to offer something to the market and sell it?
      • What’s the minimum features that need to be included in these first prototypes of your products or services?

        Test & Trial

        Deliver product and or service prototypes

        Until this point much of what you have mapped out is hypothetical and the hypotheses, until you test the assumptions, they will remain assumptions. This section enables you to map out ways you can test your assumptions. The phases you should identify here are:

        1.  Identify the assumptions –  what assumptions do you need to test?
        2.  Design experiments – what methods can you use to test your theories? For example, you might speak with customers, show them your prototypes and seek feedback from them. 
        3. Collect evidence – what ways can you collect evidence? For example You could survey customers with a strategic questionnaire and compare the data across multiple different customer types.

        The key questions to ask here are:

            • What methods can you use to test and trial your minimum viable product/service solution/s?
            • What metrics can we use to determine that we have solved the business problem?

         

        Review, Revise & Refine

        Exam findings whats worked what didnt implement improvements based on the learnings

        Gathering data and comprehensive insights from your tests and trials is the first step; what you do with it is what you want to focus on here. This section of the canvas enables you to plan out how you will improve your solutions once you have data from testing. This phase of your business modelling should facilitate you to make informed decisions to move your idea forward; this might involve pivoting (adapting or innovating it based on findings), persevere (running with it as it is) or abandoning (starting fresh with something new).