Applications are now closed.
Exceptionally, we are looking for 10 enthusiastic, coachable and fully dedicated early-stage start-ups to participate in a 12-week Strategyzer Discovery Sprint! You’ll get free access to world class thinkers, Strategyzer’s platform, content, and coaching over this 12-week intensive program - starting April 13th.
If you have applied – or are wondering if you should apply – to our free 12-week Discovery Sprint, you may have asked yourself “what is this program going to look like on a day-to-day basis?” What is Strategyzer coaching like, and what can I do to prepare? These are good and important questions, and we have dedicated this week’s blogpost to provide you with more insights into what a Discovery Sprint is like – and what teams need to prepare for in order to get the most out of the program.
Why this likely won’t just be business as usual for you
On this innovation journey, your number one goal is to continuously test and adapt your ideas based on evidence from the market. This is possibly your biggest challenge. Until now, whether you have just graduated from college or have been working in a corporate structure for decade, you have been focussed on carefully thinking things through, finding the best solutions upfront, and appearing confident about being right. Clearly, whether you are in the classroom or running a business, this is not a bad thing!
But in innovation, you don’t know what is going to work at the start of the journey. Good and bad ideas are virtually identical! The explorer’s journey is loaded with failures and pivots UNTIL you get it right. If you already know your idea is going to work, you’re probably not innovating.
Here are three tips that will turn you into a world-class explorer and enable you to get the most out of this program:
Embrace an experimentation mindset
In order to succeed in this program and, more broadly, in your testing journey, you’ll need to develop an experimentation mindset. 7 out of 10 ideas that launch to market, end up failing. Whether it is because of a lack of customers or an imperfect response to a customer need, 70% of startups bring to market a product that is not wanted. This will not be your case, because the experimentation mindset you’ve adopted has convinced you that, while you don’t currently have all the right answers, you know that you will have them once you’ve experimented enough – whether that be to shelf your product, pivot it or push it out.
In execution, careful planning guarantees success. In innovation, getting out of the building, rapid experimentation and constant adaptation lead to success – these are all pillars of the experimentation mindset! Dive into the real market, experiment with potential customers, and collect evidence that either supports or invalidates your most important assumptions. You might feel insecure and sometimes even look stupid testing raw and uncooked ideas with customers, but you have to trust the process. The truth will emerge from the experiments you run. You will detect patterns in your evidence that point you in a meaningful direction.
Avoid analysis paralysis
Secondly, it is essential that you avoid analysis paralysis. During business education, you were likely trained to analyze a challenge thoroughly, and find the best solution from the boardroom. In innovation, you can't afford to get stuck in this mode. Don’t fall in love with your first ideas. Don’t overthink them. Know that they are likely to be wrong. Shape your initial ideas quickly, identify the underlying hypotheses and start testing to generate evidence as fast as you can. Experiment, learn, adapt and go back to experimenting, again and again. This won’t be natural at first but don’t worry, our coaches will be there to challenge you and encourage you to do this!
More broadly, avoid getting stuck analyzing data that is interesting, but doesn’t help you advance in your innovation quest. Learning is NOT your goal. Making data-influenced decisions to move from naked idea to validated business opportunity is.
Keep your eyes on the prize
Finally, keep your eyes on the prize! Your job is not to present a polished idea supported by a good-looking spreadsheet. Remember? You are here to adapt your idea based on insights from the market. Move fast to disprove your initial fantasy and shift towards an idea that MIGHT actually work based on evidence and insights! Don’t write elaborate business plans that risk leading you to build something nobody wants. Iterate until you’re ready to present a slide deck and a spreadsheet that is supported by evidence and grounded in reality.
Now, as you can imagine, this is not a linear process. Iteration implies some level of unpredictability. But don’t worry, we are here to help you manage this uncertainty. Our expectations are aligned if you understand that at the end of this journey there is a good chance you’ll end up with something totally different than what you started with.
How will we support you on this journey?
During this program, we’ll help you unleash your creativity, shape your ideas, extract assumptions, conduct experiments, detect data patterns, pivot, adapt, and build strength of evidence. You’ll discover and apply many practical strategies that you will add into your innovator’s toolbox as you travel this journey.
Get ready for 3 months filled with workshops, experiments in the field, coaching sessions, team meetings, fun evenings interpreting the evidence, pondering about your next experiment, virtual collaboration, and tons of hard work!
This is a tough, but really fun and exciting journey. And for the ideas that make it to the market, these are the times you will cherish the most. Make the most of it!
We will show you how to get out of the building, talk to customers early, equipped with ugly sketches of your idea that will make you cringe the first time you see them. Are you ready to get on this fun rollercoaster?
The content above is an excerpt from a Strategyzer video by Alex Osterwalder and Paris Thomas.