Product idea validation — why it’s a definite must

Having an innovative idea is not enough to build a successful product. It seems nowadays everybody already knows that. But do they really? According to the latest CB Insights research from August 2021, 35% of startups fail because they didn’t meet the market needs.

Common mistake

Why? Assuming that you know what people want and need is a common mistake of many entrepreneurs when starting a business. It can be compared to jumping headfirst to a swimming pool without checking its depth. Do you really want to risk having your backbone broken? Validating your idea is an essential step to verify that it is worth proceeding with, no matter how amazing and innovative you think it is.

How to validate my idea at an early stage?

  1. Will my idea respond to users’ true needs? In other words — Will people want the product enough to pay for it?
  2. Is my idea feasible to develop from a technical perspective?
  3. Will my idea get enough leverage to cover costs and become profitable?

Answering these questions will help set the right starting point for the product. Spend some time upfront to confirm that the product you’re about to build is actually something people want and are willing to pay for. And don’t lose your enthusiasm, because this is the best time for experimenting and it can be done with a much smaller budget than when the product is already on the market.

But what if I find out my idea is not that good? Good for you — you will have avoided wasting your time and money and can move on to something else. Developing a product is a complex process and there’s never a 100% guarantee the product will succeed. However, following the best practices of human-centered design can definitely increase your chances.

Start with hypothesis

  • What problem are you going to solve?
  • Who are the people that have this problem?

Try to put your hypothesis in one simple sentence, e.g.: “Owners of small restaurants in Poland have a problem with keeping their businesses during the pandemic.”

Do they? Let’s find out — this is a good starting point for the next phase — research of needs.

Research of needs

Research of competition

Sounds too complicated and overwhelming? You’ve done all of it but you’re still not sure whether your idea is good enough to be feasible and profitable? Don’t worry — we’ll help.

Put your idea in the hands of professionals

However, sometimes a client sees some business or technical opportunities but doesn’t know whether the idea is something desirable and useful, and responds to the real market need. What can we do if the idea is not precise yet and there are many unknowns? In this case, the best solution is the conceptual workshop, which helps the client go through the whole process of idea validation guided by professionals.

Conceptual workshops

The process should be customized based on individual cases depending on information and materials provided by the client. However, in general, it should consist of the following steps:

- onboarding & research

- workshop sessions

- analysis & conclusions

Step 1 — Onboarding & research

The process should begin with a general overview of the challenge. We start from the kickoff meeting which helps us get to know each other and expectations on both sides. It is essential to provide all possible materials so that the iteo team can get to know the business context of the project and the client’s expectations.

After the kickoff meeting, we spend time analyzing the delivered materials, the client’s environment and competition, and we conduct research. At this stage, the most important thing is to get to know the context — learn as much as possible about the client, his needs, users, strategy, possible initial ideas, and other elements that may have any impact on the project. It is also important to locate the project in the existing technical infrastructure.

Based on all gathered research materials, we are ready to structure further stages of work and perform the workshop itself.

Step 2 — Workshop sessions

The workshop session is strategic — at this stage, we want to define what possibilities we have for introducing new, innovative solutions to the existing environment, how they should be connected with the overall strategy and vision of the brand, to which business needs we should respond to. This meeting will begin with the presentation of the results of the iteo team’s work carried out during research. The developed material will be compared with the assumptions previously provided by the client.

Then we can also focus on the development of an initial, high-level functional scope of the product (needed to describe the next stages of cooperation) and additional research hypotheses (if they turn out to be needed for an in-depth verification of the assumptions made).

The conceptual workshop can be conducted on-site as well as remotely. Both ways have their advantages and disadvantages. On-site workshops give a possibility to meet the whole team in person so it’s much easier to create a unique atmosphere of creativity and team spirit. On the other hand, they could be more expensive and time-consuming, because usually, the team needs to travel to another location. Online workshops can be conducted despite the location and this is definitely the biggest advantage. There are plenty of tools available now which help us with online workshops. Our favorite one is Miro which enables us to work together with the client without compromising on the quality of the service.

Step 3 — Analysis and conclusions

  • documentation of all materials created for the workshop process and a summary of the course and effects of workshop meetings with the client
  • conclusions and recommendations regarding the direction and scope of the digital product responding to the client’s needs
  • description of the proposals for the next stages of cooperation

Why is it worth investing in conceptual workshops?

  1. You are putting your idea in the hands of professionals — we have experience in product idea validation and you can be sure we’ll recommend the best possible methods and solutions.
  2. It’s good to share your idea with people who are not emotionally involved with it — we can look at the whole concept from a completely different perspective.
  3. You will be guided through the whole process of validation — we’ll ask you the right questions, answer yours and give you hints during the whole process.

Ready? Let’s work on your idea and turn it into reality :)

human-centric software design & development. check out our website: www.iteo.com