Just over two weeks from the end of the year and things are moving on quickly. Within the last fortnight we (Hugh Manatee) put together our list of all those little things that irritate us beyond belief. We’ve written canvas after canvas about umbrellas, mobile phones, maps, users of medication, people with disabilities and spoken to every type of person we could find. We have been trying to work our way into the feedback loop – build, measure, learn. We eventually took our first step and decided on our product, or more accurately, the public decided on our product.
Conversation after conversation based around two particular ideas we were looking to validate, one assumption we had was validated, and one fear we didn’t want to see exist was also validated. There was no choice for us in the end, the public told us what the problem was and whether or not we had a possible solution. The research also gave us additional ideas for other products, so should we need to pivot, we have an opportunity to do so.
Finally, this week it was time to prototype. I always expected the prototype to be a slick little version of the product, maybe with no bar-code and packaging and a couple of final features missing, but earlier this year I learned it would be very different, they would be basic, made of cardboard, paper, glue and sticky tape and our prototypes were exactly that.
Each armed with a bag of supplies we managed to turn the canteen in the Nightingale Centre into a scene from Blue Peter. We had everything you would need for a 6-year old’s school project, even spray glue – I didn’t even know spray glue existed! The table eventually looked like a gruesome battle had taken place between two piñatas, and yes, we cleaned up after ourselves!
We tested everything: can it be made from recycled material, what size is best, should it have a zip, what if the nuclear reactor fails (OK I made that last one up), everything we thought a user might like to see, or that could get solve the problem we were trying to address.
We finished with four very different examples of what our product could be. Without giving too much away, we had one which looked like it was poured straight out of the recycling bin, one looked like a deformed frog, one looked like it fell from the delivery truck of an adult shop (this one may be popular for testing) – but they all had their charms. They were all completely different, made by four completely different people with four different backgrounds all working toward the same goal.
The next stage is testing our prototypes and listening to what our potential customers tell us, speaking to the public. Based on that, we can make any changes to the design which we can then test. The feedback loop is continuing to run – build, measure, learn!
Soon we will have learned enough for us to build our minimum viable product (MVP) which we can release into the world. We will continue to ask, continue to change and continue to learn what our product should be. Even when we have a finalised version of our product, we must continue to build, measure and learn, because the world is constantly changing, which means we must change with it, and the only way to know what we need to change is to get outside and speak to people.
As busy as we have been getting everything together, applying for Bright Ideas, meeting to discuss designs and canvas’, it has been an amazing process.
I’m working with great people (enjoy this now, I don’t part with compliments too easily), but it never feels like work. Every time we meet we all bring something different to the table and the result is something I could never have envisioned. The future is looking good.
We just need to keep the loop running! Build, measure, learn!