Learn how to get your plans out of your head, off the paper and into concerted action for validation this Wednesday (April 30th ) night at SF Startup Product MeetUp. We will vote to pick one person's business idea and build an entire business plan showing how to vette those assumptions and quickly evolve your plans into viable products and services.
I've seen and made lot of business plans. I've read many books on this topic back to the early days of entrepreneurship including the original '1 Page Business Plan. These all fell flat for me. Yawn. In fact I'm not really a fan of plans. They are so inert, So full of promises and assumptions that are bound to fool and fail. I'm reminded of sayings like these: "no plan of operations extends with any certainty beyond the first contact with the main hostile force." -Prussian von Moltke the Elder and Napoleon: ""I have never had a plan of operations."
So what's different about the Lean Canvas? Well, nothing, if all you do is fill it out by yourself or with your team. The real power comes from methodically exposing the assumptions revealed by your business plan to the hard test of reality and using that knowledge to enlarge your understanding, rethink your ideas and rebuild your plan. Again and again and again. This moves the 'plan' into 'planning' and action, driving your activities towards vetting every assumption, focusing every idea and cultivating each customer until the product or service you provide is 'Otaku' or irresistible.
This excerpt in an interview of Geoffrey Moore inspired me to think about how UX needs to drive every aspect of today's businesses. How much attention does your organization pay to your UX crew? Are they even employees or perhaps it's outsource to an agency? Are they used to 'dress up' you visual design, as an afterthought? What would happen if they helped determined what fundamental products and services the organization provided from square one? How much interaction with customers do your product managers have? How often is customer research performed? Every 6 months? How much of that research is used? How does your organization know if a product fulfills its purpose for the customer? Unless your customers are fully represented by the people making your product or service you will not know how to fulfill your customer's needs, wants and desires without UX guidance.
ForwardView: Given this new competitive reality, what approaches to innovation should companies be taking today?
Geoffrey Moore: Now when we talk about innovation, we talk about working from the customer back, not from the lab out. Start by putting yourself in the shoes of the end-user of the product or service, spend time with them, figure out what's unsatisfactory or unattractive about the current experience, and then design backward from there to create new innovations. So you actually design back from the market, which means you reduce market risk considerably and you can get things that are more relevant to market faster. The critical idea here, whether you're in entertainment, whether you're in education, whether you're in healthcare, whether you're in financial services, any business that's a service business, is it's not about you. It's really first and foremost about the customer and then really genuinely thinking through the value proposition with the customer. So I think being really aggressive about getting back to the mission of your service organization can be hugely innovative."
Discovery Spaces is about the art and practice of personal, collaborative and organizational discovery. It's about ideas and inspiration being realized. It's about creating a habitat for possibility. It's about synthesis and integration. It's about alignment, togetherness and harmony.
Inspiration for this term has come from several sources. One is my collaboration with Cesar Idrovo on his Discovery Curves portfolio management technique which allows an organization to make choices based on a variety of things they value. Another is Willem Larsen's 5th Rule of Accelerated Learning: Design the Environment Accordingly.
I hope you enjoy!