I’ve talked a bit about value proposition design recently, and the need to get out of the building and find out what your customers really want. But what if this isn’t enough? And why is it that so many stories of inventors getting out of the building have customers do the exact opposite of what was expected?
In this December interview with business review weekly, James Dyson (of cyclonic vacuum cleaner fame) said that:
To design well, one must have experienced the pain and frustration of an existing product not working well
To me, this means more than simply observing your customers in the field. This is about actually trying the product for yourself and living the customer journey. When you can bond with your customers over shared pain, and find a better way forward … that is where true insight comes from. Tim Brown of IDEO encourages us not to ask ‘what’, but to ask ‘why’. Understanding why your customers are behaving in the way they are, and being able to get inside of their heads through having shared their pain and frustration is essential if you want your customer discovery observations to provide real insight.
Lateral thinking can be thought of as logical thinking but form a different starting point. If you are able to shift your starting point enough before your logical mind gets to work, you can find yourself with surprising results. Hopefully, novel ideas with some value that you just wouldn’t have thought of using regular logical thinking.
The use of random words is one of many techniques designed to disrupt your regular, left brain thinking and enable you to start thinking creatively. In this post, I’ll continue my theme of putting the innovation back into business model innovation by applying the random word technique to business model innovation.
If I were given one hour to save the planet, I would spend 59 minutes defining the problem and one minute resolving it (Albert Einstein)
Making sure you are solving the right problem is THE most important part of business model innovation. In terms of developing your value proposition, this means spending time discovering which jobs matter most to your customers, before you go looking for solutions that will offer effective pain relief and gain generation. This post is part 3 of my series on using creative thinking techniques to put the innovation back into business model innovation. In today’s post, I’ll be looking at how the Five Whys technique can be used to get to the heart of the problem your business model is trying to solve.
This week I am looking at different ways we can put the innovation back into business model innovation. Taking the approach that creativity in thinking can be done deliberately, I’m applying various deliberate creative thinking techniques to what is now becoming the familiar area of business model generation, lean startups and customer development. Last week I looked at using the TERMS Star for putting your value innovation into hyper drive, today I’ll take a look at using SCAMPER to power up your disruption when pivoting from one business model to another.
What happened to Game Neverending?
Game Neverending (GNE) was a web based massively multiplayer online game launched in late 2002 and shutdown in 2004. Designed to be user extensible, the game encouraged real time browser chat with players leaving messages and game objects for each other at various locations. With poorly defined gameplay (there wasn’t even really a concept of winning), players quickly developed strong social connections with lots of humour and quite a few pictures being exchanged along with the intended gaming objects. By 2004, the site had relaunched as Flickr.
Business model innovation and the search for a scalable business model has been a hot topic over the last couple of years with the explosion of lean startups, customer discovery, and business model generation. But where is the actual innovation in all of this? I am seeing a lot of trial and error but not so much thoughtful creativity as entrepreneurs continuously pivot and validate until they strike business model gold. It might be agile but is it innovative?
Over the next week I’ll be looking at how structured creativity can help put the innovation back into business model innovation. If you want to know how Six Thinking Hats, the five whys, SCAMPER, random word generation or the hall of fame can help to uncover more innovative business models, then this series is for you. Let’s start by looking at how the TERMS Star can help develop more creative value propositions.
They say money can’t buy you happiness. So what does make you happy, and is it worth measuring?
Since 1971 Bhutan has been measuring the prosperity of its people based on how happy they are, rather than on their gross domestic product. The Guardian have a nice piece on it here. For the last 40 years, this tiny Buddhist state has been measuring its citizen’s Gross National Happiness based on a range of 33 measures across 9 different domains. These measures range from health and education through to use of time, cultural diversity and community vitality. Read the complete explanation here.
In addition to the actual measures, there are some important aspects of the way those measures are taken, summarised below:
- Sufficiency: there is not ‘poverty line’ below which people are unhappy. Instead, each domain has its own achievement target. Achieve that level and you have a score which is deemed ‘sufficient’ for being happy. Here is the important part … Over achievement is not captured! Here is what they have to say on this.
The Gross National Happiness Index takes the position that beyond a certain point, we don’t need to keep adding in higher achievements to the quality of life mechanically; we confine our attention somewhat to a middle band of achievements that contribute significantly to human wellbeing for most people.
- Diversity: The happiness measure is shown as a single number based on the target for each household to achieve 66% happiness, i.e. 6 out of 9 domains. It doesn’t matter which ones. This allows for diversity, and for the concept that not all measures will apply to the entire population.
- Aggregation: By aggregating results, the overall incentive is to bring as many people as possible into achieving happiness. This is very different from the western approach of rewarding the overachievement of a very few (the super rich) to the detriment of the whole.
- Trends: Looking at trends over time, the nation can focus on key domains in need of attention.
Thanks to Anthill for this wonderful footage of Bruce Lee playing ping pong with nun chucks! Yes you heard that right, nun chucks no less. Shot in the 1960s and reused in a desperate attempt by Nokia to boost sales for their N96 phone, this short film shows what can be achieved with a life time of dedication and focus.
So what I wanted to talk about today was how to focus your own efforts effectively when selecting which features to introduce in your Minimum Viable Product. Here are some of my own thoughts, having read and digested this wonderful article on the ABCs of an MVP by KissMetrics: