Congratulations! You have just hatched an idea for an exciting new product. It’s a bit risky, of course, because it’s new to the world. You aren’t sure if your intended customer will be interested or willing to pay your price, and you aren’t exactly sure how to make, market, sell or deliver your product. It’s also risky because you have a limited amount of money to turn this into a profitable business.
You have two choices for how to proceed, A and B. Choice A is called “All In” – design the product as you imagined it, build enough to respond to early demand, and introduce it to your target market. It is fast but if it fails, you walk away because your startup fund has been exhausted.
Choice B is called “Test & Learn” – identify the key assumptions that you have made about your new product, target customer and business model, and then systematically test these assumptions using a variety of methods and increasingly sophisticated prototypes. As your testing continues, your ‘product/market fit’ increases. Eventually, you will have tested, iterated and pivoted your way to market success… but not necessarily with your initial vision.
Which choice would you make, A or B? Choice B, Test & Learn, was originally conceived for startups but is now moving over to the world of strategic innovation at large companies. In this issue of the Innovation Quarterly, Inovo President Brian Christian offers our perspective on Test & Learn and presents several caveats for corporate innovators to consider.
Read “Test and Learn Goes Mainstream“.