The best way to know if an idea will work is to transform it from something invisible into something visible. We call this prototyping and its a hands-on method that links ideation and validation in an iterative feedback loop. If there’s something you like (or dislike) about your design, something that needs to be changed or doesn’t quite work the way you planned, you fix it, in real time!
With two workshops remaining, the Lab teams approached Workshop 3 with a keen focus to model their solutions and map the customer journey. Unpacking their business model canvas from the previous workshop, each team zoomed into the customer segments and nailed their articulation of the value proposition. What is their promise to the customer? And how will this be delivered?
Get to know your customer
In order to deliver a successful product or service, you have to know what value you are creating for people. What are the challenges your customer is facing that your product or service will help alleviate? What positive opportunities you are creating for your customer and how does your product maximise the benefits? To answer these questions, the Lab teams had to consider their customer persona and identify their motivations. It is important to first consider the prominence or relevance of the suspected ‘problem’ before inserting your solution. It is very easy to identify customer ‘needs’ that validate your solution without concretely uncovering whether that ‘need’ is indeed one the customer wants to be solved!
For some teams, this was a more practical activity given that the customer persona was actually sitting at their very table. Team 1, for instance, looked at solutions for the building and construction industry and how they might model circularity solutions to encourage the uptake of circular building and design practices. Brisbane Airport Corporation represents the customer segment at this teams and were therefore able to provide inflight feedback on this during the workshop. Handy having the customer validate (or invalidate) your ideas right then and there! This was also the case for Team 5, who are essentially looking at how to up-cycle aluminium and plastic products that come through the container recycling scheme. One of the participants at this table represented a potential customer segment and could then provide insights on collective solution.
Draw it, build it.
Before you can decide whether your solution or concept really works as you imagine, you’ve got to make it real! The Lab teams had a creative session blocked out in workshop 3 dedicated to designing their solution as a product you can quite literally pick up off the shelf. What is about the product or service that grabs the customer’s attention? How is the value proposition presented? What is the overall brand and tone of voice?
As a preliminary exercise, each team had a physical cardboard box that they treated as the surface of their product or service, upon which they added key imagery and explanations of how it works. This helped to draw out the key headlines and capture the focus area for the customer. Whether it was a “Thriving communities” tagline like Team 4, or an image of landfill like Team 2, each team had a distinct prototype that positioned their product or service in a tangible way. The teams went on to elaborate their prototype to test the technical feasibility of their concept. This meant enquiring with internal experts, whipping out spreadsheets, creating landing pages, setting up Facebook polls and making some important phone calls. The afternoon was all prototyping and validating!
Eliminating the riskiest assumption
By the end of the afternoon, the final workshop was clear in sight. But before the teams could consider preparing for the big pitch, it was essential they identify their underlying assumptions and call them out! Throughout the workshop, teams noted their assumptions and evaluated whether they have a high or low anticipated impact on the design of the solution. The high impact assumptions represent the biggest risk since that they are instrumental to the success of the solution in delivering its purpose. The teams identified their riskiest assumptions and were tasked with the responsibility to reduce or eliminate it through different validation techniques. Let’s say the riskiest assumption was, “Does the customer want our solution like we think they do?” This team would then have to go out and pose this question to the target customer segments, either by talking to them in person or through surveys and polls. This is a pretty critical assumption to validate!
Workshop 3 was a big day. The teams had to make concrete decisions about their concepts and navigate some difficult questions about how it would all work and deliver the economic, environmental and social impact that’s true of a circular solution. There’s a fair bit of work to be done between now and Workshop 4, so stay tuned to catch the update!