Focus your MVP right

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:

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Building your Value Proposition

The business model canvas provides a great tool for working through your business model, but it says little about timing and prioritisation. When should you develop your resources model for instance, before or after your customer segments? Ash Maurya and others start out by looking at the value proposition and taking it from there.

In this great post by Alex Osterwalder, we are introduced to some tools for developing your value proposition in more detail. It is quite a detailed post, and certainly worth reading through when you have the time., but I thought I would summarise the key points here.

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What about the Competition?

Whatever happened to building strategic competitive advantage? With all the talk of business model generation, lean startups and customer development you might be forgiven for having thought that competitive advantage was all a bit last season. If you spent good money on a business degree that taught you otherwise, never fear. All is not forgotten.

Alex Osterwalder, author of Business Model Generation, has had some interesting thoughts on competition. His view is that competition is part of the environment or operating context for a business model, and is not part of the business model itself. Many of the comments think otherwise, debating the pro’s and cons of designating competitive advantage as being in or out of the business model. Does it matter so long as you are able to change your business model to respond to competitive forces? Let’s take a closer look.

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Provoking your Business Model

This post continues my exploration of lateral thinking techniques and their application to the business model generation space. You can see my original post on how lateral thinking applies to business problems here, and a previous post on using random word entry to stimulate business mode innovation here.

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Using Random Words to Disrupt your Business Model

Lateral thinking is all about movement, and the deliberate movement of logical thinking to enable creative thinking. When it works, we can look backwards from our creative solution and make sense of the path we took to get there. But looking forwards “we just can’t get there from here”.

De Bono uses a number of techniques to achieve lateral thinking. One such method is random entry, the concept of using a different, randomly selected starting point as part of the creative problem solving process. You can do this with a well selected pool of words to be drawn on at random:

  • Bench, envelope, radio, landlord, candy, gutter, sword, motor, bag, chain, beer, shoe, egg, field, gun, wine, acid, parking meter, brick, lipstick, ring, ghost, peanut, olive, panda, salt, windsurfer, pilot, barbeque, arrow, turtle, hockey, tent, diaper, jam, silver, stomach, mouth, champagne, ashtray, x-ray, artist, storm, flamingo, truck, volcano, mud, ostrich, caviar, bubble, helmet, screwdriver, bath, dinner, key, rocket, coupon, Christmas, politician, chimney, herd, flute, subway, beer, dictionary, clouds, canister

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Business Model Innovation

Note: This article was originally posted here, on InnovationExcellence. I thought I would repost it here.

Nine out of ten business start-ups, and one in six business transformations will confirm it. If you want to be part of the one in ten who succeeds, you’ll need to search for the answers first. By innovating our business model before we start executing, we can improve our chances of success and reduce the high risk and high cost of failure in an uncertain environment.

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Linking your Business Model to Strategy

This article follows on from yesterday’s post on using future scenarios to put your business model through its paces. Drawing on some of the great ideas put forwards in Business Model Generation, I thought I’d pull together my own view on using a number of strategy lenses to look a bit more closely at your business model.

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Future Scenarios and Business Modelling

The business model often evolves over time as businesses discover what really works, and adapt to their environment. By using the business model canvas to map out the business structure in response to different potential future scenarios, the business can take a more holistic view of what may lie ahead.

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Brainstorm your Business Model

The fundamental goal of a business start-up is to find a business model that scales. This can take a while, and is likely to require a number of iterations of the business model before the right one is found. A creative problem solving approach might start out by understanding the problems that need to be solved, looking at what has been done before, and then generating a lot of different business models before starting to test which ones work the best.

In today’s post, I’ll look at three different brainstorming techniques which can be used to develop business models using groups and the business model canvas.

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mmMule connects travelers and locals

Imagine planning your next holiday to eastern Europe and finding out that a local orphanage are in desperate need of children’s books written in english, and will reward you with a day out horse riding  if only you will bring a few books.  This is the basic premise of AngelMule, as written about by SpringWise recently.

The idea was formed when co-founders Andrew and Avis found themselves taking a football with them on a trip to Rwanda. They were going anyway, and it wouldn’t take much space, so they also decided to go the extra mile and take it in person to the orphanage that had made the request…the rest is history.

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