Successful Idea Development Is Just Like Doing Experiments. 3 Key Steps Here.
“Let’s brainstorm something new!”
We always hear about this in a team meeting or when you are attending a Hackathon, and everyone is looking for something “new.”
Then you started to discuss with others and think about what to do.
Maybe we can do this or do that. What is next? A person will say that “oh, it is difficult” “oh, I know someone is doing this already.” The atmosphere changed from hyper to low energy, and people felt tired about talking a lot and planned to restart the conversation next time.
Did you experience the same thing before?
If yes, this article will be useful for you to have the idea generation meeting next time.
First of all, what is an idea? Is it a product? Service? Or a fancy new platform? An idea is not a thing. It is a way to solve the customer problem. If you are developing a new idea, you should able to tell me, “who is it for,” “why they need this,” and “what is this.” Usually, we can talk about “what is this.” Therefore, I like to use the following sentence for summarising an idea:
We help X to do Y by Z.
X = Customer, Y = Problem, Z = Product / Service.
For example, Airbnb helps the traveler explore local experiences by an app to match the localhost. Also, it is helping the local host to earn extra income.
After knowing what is an idea and brainstormed a few executable ideas, it is time to develop your idea as a scientist. Here are 3 key to start the experiment:
- What is the hypothesis?
- How to test it
- Do the experiment
Step1: What is the hypothesis
Did you try to talk with your potential customers? What is the output? How do you talk with them? A common problem of doing user interviews is that people actually don't know what are they going to test. They know that it is crucial to do a user interview. It is important to get user feedback. For an idea development, you have to know “what are you going to test” is important as well. For example, when you made a prototype of your app, are you going to test the usability? or you want to know their user behavior? or you should know whether they want to use the app first?
All these questions started from a hypothesis.
Hypothesis means, a supposition or proposed explanation made on the basis of limited evidence as a starting point for further investigation.
It is your assumption.
For example, if you are developing Uber app, you assume that your user love using mobile app for their daily life and they used to pay by credit card. Also, they are affordable to pay more for convenience.
In the previous sentence, it listed at least 3 or 4 assumptions already. If these assumptions are not true, your app will not works.
Step2: How to test it
After clarifying what to test, the second thing is to define how to test it. You can do it via research, user interview, or doing a landing page for your product. The key issue is that you should define what is success clearly. For example, if you are creating a Facebook ad to test your new service, you should set a SMART goal:
I don't talk to details about the SMART goal here and you can easy to find it via google. The crucial thing is that you should set a goal before testing.
A common problem is that people go out and talk with customers, or they launch a Facebook ad to receive feedback on their new product. However, if they don't have a goal, what the outcome can be just like
“Ya, they say its good, they love”, but how many you talked
“Ya, many people like our ad”, but why it means good enough
“Ya, people visited our new product website”, but how long the website launched
Without a goal, testing is meaningless.
Step 3. Do the experiment
Experiment means two things, one is execution, another is embrace failure. Both of them are difficult for human beings. It takes bravery to try something new and kick start the execution. Usually, we plan a lot. If you want to develop a successful idea, I suggest you plan less and act more.
It is okay to be not okay.
When we are young and studying science in secondary school, we did many many experiments in class. It is because we don't afraid the experiment fail. We think that it is okay to fail. When we are growing up, we lost the confidence to fail and we tried to avoid it. We try to reduce any risk we are facing.
In doing experiment, you should embrace it, instead of avoid it.
Does that mean embracing failure? When you encountered a fail try, you can test yourself “Oh yes, it is failing. Then why? and What’s next?”
This is the spirit of experimentation.
To sum up, the idea development process is quite different from our usual mindset. As the book Think, Fast and Slow said, 95% of our decision based on system 1, intuition.
Presentation of Idea Development sharing: