Last week the Tech Allies Network wrapped up another year of Summer Institute with 16 students involved from 9 universities. The first year university students spent 2 weeks working on a design sprint alongside a series of masterclasses and insights into the 6 hosting companies: Finastra, IBM, Rise created by Barclays, GSK, ViiV Healthcare and Salesforce.
There were many learnings from the program but here are some tips and tools I recommend students and professionals should be familiar with to innovate and create new products:
1. Google Ventures design sprint - a common toolkit used in many companies who want to ‘prove’ or ‘kill’ an idea in 5 days. This toolkit here has a step by step guide and walks you through the different types of activities you can run as a team to ideate , prototype, research, vote etc. Next time you have a team meeting where you need to come up with ideas or decide on something, use one of these tools…and a post-it note 📝!
2. The double diamond approach- I won’t labour on this point too much. The basic idea is you go through two ‘diamonds’ which consist of diverging and converging on ideas. The first diamond is focused on the problem and the second is on the solution. The double diamond and design sprint methodology go hand in hand 🤲.
3. Fall in love with the problem, not the solution ❤️. It’s easy to fall in love with a solution quickly and focus all your time on it, but always ask yourself “is this solving a real problem?”. How do you know if it’s a real problem? Well that leads me on to my next point…
4. Customer interviews are king 🤴(and queen 👸)! It’s surprising how many solutions get made without leaving the walls of an office to actually talk to people. From my experience you get far more insight and come up with better ideas when you approach strangers on the street and interview them. Caveat: most people feel comfortable approaching those who look like them which is dangerous. Ideally you want to ask a diverse group of people from a range of backgrounds and locations. Face to face is great but using social media and online surveys in another method to get scale and diversity.
5. The value proposition canvas — a great tool to use when doing interviews and a good way to bucket insights. There are lots of videos out there that explain how to use it — here is one.
6. Business model canvas — another tool that goes well with the value proposition canvas and a nice way to map out how an idea is viable as a business. Here is a guide to explain how to use it.
7. Jobs To Be Done (JTBD)is a way of being customer centric and the best way I can explain this methodology is with an example. No one goes to a bank 🏦 because they want a mortgage, they go because they want to buy a home; a mortgage is how they facilitate that. The job being done there is a customer wants to buy a home 🏠. Now if you centre your value proposition around helping the customer to buy a home you can start to build a customer journey wider then the mortgage with multiple products e.g. a savings account to save a deposit, a credit card to build a credit history etc.
8. Lastly, I recommend prototyping quickly to visualise a solution and test it out with customers. A simple app that’s easy to get started with is Marvel App.
What other tools, methodologies or tips do people have for ideating and creating new product? Let me know 👇 below.
About the author
I’m Ryan, Developer Evangelist Lead at Finastra and Founder of the Tech Allies Network. My previous experience in Financial Services has been in a variety of roles including: product, strategy, technology and advisory.
I’m a techie interested in APIs, Ecosystems, Platform Thinking, Product & Human-Computer Interaction (aka most buzzwords 😂)!