UNIT 3 – Define and validate

Now that a solid foundation on customer needs and behaviour has been created is possible to go on designing and validating the first version of the solution you are developing. This process will be implemented using the Lean Startup methodology, the most used way to develop a validation process.

The Lean Methodology

The process is basically based on three step (build, measure and learn) that must be continuously repeated to refine, redefine and readapt the product/service to the new instance and necessity emerged during the process. Steve Blank, father of the Lean Startup Movement, on this page provides a thorough explanation of the methodology and how to “build the simplest thing that you can show to customers to get the most learning at that point in time”.

Below you can find a video of introduction to the Lean Startup methodology.

In Unit 4, we will focus our attention on a powerful tool to implement a validation process using lean startup methodology (Validation Board). Some practical and inspirational examples of how the lean methodology has been applied to generate social impact are described in this web page.

Lean startup principle, as you have read, are adopted and used to build companies that maximize customer value while minimizing wasted effort and this is particular relevant for social innovators and organizations the need to work in a capital-efficient and agile way. Lean encourage test and experimentations instead of elaborating planning, values customer feedback over intuition, and uses iterative methods over traditional “big planning up front” development.

The MVP (Minimum Viable Product)

At the initial stages of the project it is important to set basic functions and characteristics of the product/service, that are core to being implemented and that are essential to solving the social problem identified.

The second step will be to build a demo that will be used to test and so define the MVP (Minimum Viable Product).

The following video offers you a good practical example to understand the process that stands behind the creation of a MVP starting from the definition of the product/service and the customer journey narrowing it to the essential element.

Pretotype and prototype

Most of the tools that we have shown and that you can find in the tasks in the right side can be considered as instruments of developing pretotype techniques. At this link, you can find more information about this approach and why it is important to use it in innovation processes.

But a simple question could have risen on your mind: what is the difference pretotype and prototype? At this page you can find the answer.

Validation tools and experiment

At this link you can find interesting (and sometimes tricky) tools and experiment technique that can be used in a lean validation process.

Another useful instrument of validation could be the lending page. It is a web page that can be used to capture visitor’s information thorough a lead form and test if your target is interested to take specific action.

In most of the case is about getting them to subscribe to an email list, click a specific link/button, buy a product, or perform some kind of social-media-related activity. To create it you can use different methods or tools. One of these is Wix. Another one is WordPress probably the most common and used online, open source website creation tool. Weebly is instead more intuitive and easy to use for newbie.

Minimum Viable Product

The purpose of an MVP is to sketch out what your proposed solution may look like in real life. Whether it’s an after-school program or a medical device for the homeless doesn’t matter.

Challenge yourself to create a model that emphasizes what value your solution brings to the table, how it addresses beneficiaries’ pains and respond to their desires.

At the end of this unit, you will have approached lean methodology that relies on a continuous process of learning, experimentation, and iterative product releases. It permits to shorten product/service development cycles, measure progress, and gain valuable customer feedback increasing efficiency and reducing possibility of failures.