Assignment 1: Customer profile & value proposition (Canvas platform)
This exercise demonstrates the importance of fit: complementing the value proposition of a service to the actual needs of the customer. Unfortunately, this inverse process is much easier, and the temptation to fit our perception of customer needs to a preconceived product is hard to overcome, especially if we have invested significant mental and emotional energy in our concept. I found purposefully considering which jobs, pain points, and potential gains this product would not address to be a useful tactic when trying to craft a customer profile independent of a pre-defined value offering.
Were we developing Canvas from the initial phase, our next step after this brainstorm would be to backtrack and identify which of these pains and gains could realistically be addressed by our product. Furthermore, we should be looking to identify the minimum product for our proposition that still provides enough gain and/or relieves enough pain to be adopted by at least a subset of the student customer segment. In particular, we need to make sure that we are not only addressing the less-important pains, gains, and jobs with our product but getting at issues customers themselves consider key. (Although, if the school mandates the use of the platform, maybe we don’t have to win over the students at all — we just have to keep the app operating above a level that provokes open revolt, like the providers of public transportation).
When developing these MVPs, we should constantly be seeking to formulate and test falsifiable hypothesis to answer key questions (Will professors use this platform? Will students even open a“calendar” window?) at a minimal cost, before investing in expensive product development.