How do you know which ideas will stick?
Companies invariably have lots of potentially good ideas. But how do you know which ones are the great ones before you try them? The trick is to get going—to set up a system for experimenting, sorting as you learn, and pursuing the most promising ideas. NextVista can help your company develop a process for identifying, exploring and executing ideas with the greatest potential.
Principles for Idea Exploration and Execution
- Follow a discovery-driven approach involving experimenting and learning and adjusting course as customer response, competitive reactions and business model economics become apparent.
- Formulate hypotheses and make projections.
- Determine key assumptions underlying ultimate success.
- Develop a plan to test key assumptions and learn.
- Invest to further develop as appropriate.
- Develop and run smart business experiments, like a scientist driven to make an important new discovery.
- Focus on testing customer response.
- Think like a scientist—driven and passionate, but objectively seeking the truth in a fact-based way.
- Be explicit about these experiments. Formulate hypotheses about the few factors that could really matter, then test them rigorously.
- Make decisions based on results. If a hypothesis is disproven, try to figure out why and set up a new experiment as appropriate.
- Seek emergent rather than deliberate strategies. In a mature core business where the market size is known, the competition is defined, and the economics are established, everything can be analyzed and optimized. But everything about an important new business is still largely unknown. The right strategy and financial plan will emerge as you test various approaches and gather marketplace feedback.
- Avoid methodical analysis, plodding through process stage gates.
- Gather marketplace feedback on what works and what does not.
- Pursue angles that seem productive and quickly abandon other paths.
- Stay flexible. Behave like an entrepreneur following a lean start-up approach.
Above all, recognize that the best ideas lie at the intersection of the company’s core capabilities and unmet customer needs, so it’s critical to understand these two bases of opportunity. Prior experience is key because recognizing an idea worth testing is often a matter of pattern recognition—knowing what’s worked in the past and why.