Ideas Maturation Process
🇬🇧 ➡️️ 🇫🇷 Méthode de maturation des idées
Prototypers invents and explores business and technological concepts through articles, prototypes, and product launches. The Ideas Maturation Process is one of the concepts that we are starting to explore.
This article is the first draft of a maturation process that we will improve as we explore other ideas. It’s also the first step of a journey that may shape the process into a product. Very meta ;)
Stop thinking and act?
Why would ideas need a maturation process?
Everyone knows that ideas have no value and that only the execution matters! This vision comes straight out of the startups’ scrapbook and has spread in many organizations. Promoting action is great, but we have to make sure not to confuse speed and haste.
Any organization, startup, big company, or NGO, has natural inclinations toward the path of least resistance, inertia, and fashion. New ideas need to get strong to resist being denaturated by these forces.
A new idea is a question
“Couldn’t we offer customer service in Virtual Reality?”. “What if we allowed Harvard students to safely connect with each other thanks to their @harvard.edu email?”. “How to discover and promote Cross-Company Workplace Groups?”. “Couldn’t we extract an Ideas Maturation Process out of our ideas explorations?”. A new idea arises when one considers a new way to appropriate a context (technology, society, resources) and generate a result.
A mature idea is a mission
The question can be answered by immediately creating a startup. One of the above questions is the origin of Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg was able to develop and deploy himself a minimal product in a matter of weeks. Its immediate success offered him resources and time to mature a remarkable mission.
Not every question can find a quick and optimal answer through a minimal product. When trying to answer “Couldn’t we offer customer service in Virtual Reality?”, we first discovered that there was no service available to project humans live in Virtual Reality -can you believe that? Also, that Virtual Reality adoption suffered from too small a quantity of excellent available contents. Imagine finding a way to solve both issues — that would be good, right? — but dramatically lowering the impact of your solution by sticking to the initial “customer service” question — that would be too bad.
The purpose of our Ideas Maturation Process (work in progress) is to design an efficient journey from the initial question to a project mission that balances doability, viability — taking into account available or accessible resources- and impact — according to one’s objectives.
The mission states the understanding of the project’s ecosystem, describes the target product fit & experience and plans the next steps.
Walk with me, dear idea.
The idea journey
Inspiration precedes questions. Inspiration is less what we experience, read or meet, than how we receive these raw materials for ideas. The key may be to try and consistently decipher the hidden mechanisms of the products and services we are “sold,” and to not self-censor apparently absurd leads but instead to follow them as far as possible.
That way you can end up imagining Snapchat celebrities meeting their millions of followers in Virtual Reality. Absurd? Maybe. Fun? Probably. Possible? Let’s see.
Then comes the question, described further above. The question starts and leads exploration but should not reduce the scope of thoughts.
The exploration starts with the definition of an idea’s ecosystem. What are the technological platforms of this ecosystem? What are the partners/competitors products/services? Who sells what? Who buys what? A lot of information will be available on the web. Meeting experts and talents of a given ecosystem can be very beneficial for the exploration phase. The purpose of this stage is to forge yourself convictions about the evolution of a given industry or technology, to justify the strategic positioning of the project. Exploring is also an inspiration source. Let the initial question be modified, and new questions arise.
Modelization is fueled by exploration and can fuel further research. Models are value chain hypothesizes combining customers, providers, partners, products, services, resources and objectives to provide an answer to the question. The purpose of modelization is to test significant variations and to refine the most relevant paths. Each model is the draft of a mission — described further above — and various models are evaluated on:
- The probability of realization of the ecosystem previsions
- Doability and viability according to resources hypothesis
- Potential impact compared to objectives
Before going for “LiveHumanVR Mission, Reinventing Presence” CtoC model, we analyzed BToC models (connecting brands with customers in Virtual Reality) and BtoB models (innovative internal and commercial conference service). Those models are not entirely abandoned, but for equal doability, we decided that they were less adapted to the ecosystem evolution and had a smaller potential impact.
A model that is well positioned in a probable ecosystem, that is doable, viable, and that has a potential impact fitting the project owner ambition can be shaped into a mission. It is not about choosing the “best” model but about being sure that a given model makes sense. The journey of an idea can lead to several missions, or none.
Prototypes help find answers
The Ideas Maturation Process may raise questions that neither online contents nor experts will be able to solve.
Various kinds of prototypes can be designed to seek concrete answers to a precise question:
- Economic modelisation for testing hypothesis to assess the potential and viability of a model
- Creative mockup for deeper understanding of the narrative and visual potential of a project
- Minimum development for determining relevance and doability of a technological idea
- Pre-launch of minimal product for measuring attractivity of a creative mockup for a given target audience
- Minimum viable product for measuring attractivity and repeat usage of a product for a given target audience
The LiveHumanVR mission is base on a 2D low tech projection idea that we have not tested yet. A minimum development prototype will help us validate — or not — the mission.
You can contribute to this idea journey if…
You practice consulting and/or have already studied the notion of ideas maturation in various organizations and can provide comments and guidance on ideas management state of the art and market needs.
You can recommend books, publications, tools on the subject.
You have an idea and are willing to make it take a journey with us.
TLDR*: The Prototypers mission being to explore ideas, we thought that it would make sense to consider how an Ideas Maturation Process could become a product. We have a process draft based on “Inspiration / Question / Ecosystem exploration / Modelization / Mission,”. Various kinds of prototypes can help answering precise questions at any stage of the journey.
*Too Long, Didn’t Read
Prototypers explore promising technologies and exciting business opportunities to uncover new ideas and give them attention, work, and resources.