Test Then Invest

Any scientist worth their salt knows that when preparing to study a concept/phenomena you have to use the good old scientific method. What’s that you say? Essentially, it involves using empirical (e.g. observable/measurable) data and a bit of reasoning to ensure that what you think you know, is real. Oxford’s English dictionary put’s it another way; they call it “"a method or procedure that has characterized natural science since the 17th century, consisting in systematic observation, measurement, and experiment, and the formulation, testing, and modification of hypotheses.”


Innovation As an Advantage, Not a Risk

Many people simply know IDEO as a leader in the product and service design market. Product developers or innovations may even know a few of their key products or clients. This information, although compelling, misses out on the most interesting information about IDEO. In the HBR case study ‘Phase Zero: Introducing New Services at IDEO (A),’ Amy Edmondson provides interesting insights into how IDEO does business, and most importantly, the process they follow to derive new insights into customer behavior and needs.

And the Survey Says!

Lean Startup: Continuous InnovationSo you have a great new idea, and you want to find out if people will like it. According to Lean Startup methodology, you need to Build - Measure - Learn. Surveys can be a great way to validate your ideas and gather data on your quickly-built prototypes. I found a site that provides recommendations for many several of the leading online survey companies. One nice thing about the site, is that it explains the high level features/functions you can expect from each option. I've recently been working to test out a new business concept called PsychCentral and look forward to using QuestionPro as a sort of prototype and as a way to find out if the concept works. Like most SaaS these days, they have a free version as well as a few tiers of paid versions. Another option they didn't list is Google's form builder built into their Drive platform. I love this option because it's simple and is fairly well integrated into the rest of their products. So, next time you're ready to test the waters for your new idea, consider using a survey tool to measure the market size, as a quick prototype, or to track your concept outcomes.

Go Greek or Don't Bother

Aristotle was one of the first to realize the importance, of intrinsic needs. An innovator's first job in product development is to identify that which consumers are looking for. Ask the right questions, and observe people completing tasks in their natural environment. Figure out their virtue, and product success awaits!