The 3 critical validation steps to risk-free business growth innovation

You don’t have to risk your job or business reputation to achieve business growth innovation.

It’s the myth I bust most often.

People see other leaders that have achieved growth rapidly and think they had to risk everything to do it...they don’t.

In fact, they SHOULDN’T...

In this session post, you will learn the exact 3 proven ways I help organisations and leaders create risk-free business growth innovation.

Let’s face it, you’ve worked way too hard to risk your career or livelihood by doing something that could unravel all your hard work.

You’re about to discover which problem areas in your business are limiting your growth and how to determine which one is the most important one to solve.

You’ll also learn the technique to prove whether people will open their wallets to pay for your new business innovation before you’ve even built it.

These innovation techniques will enable you to establish where you should be applying your energy to achieve growth, so you don’t waste valuable time or money. 

It will also enable you to prove unequivocally if there’s a market that would be willing to pay for your solution... Before you spend any time or money building it (this is a game-changer).

Finally, you will be able to test if your idea effectively solves the problem without having to build the whole solution.

So, let me live up to the promise and show you how these 3 proven business growth innovation processes can help your business growth at minimal risk.

3 critical validation steps

Risk is the biggest threat and thus a logical place to focus our attention. After all, no one wants to make a mistake. There are three core techniques we need to learn about validating.

1. Validating the Problem Merit
—validating whether the insight problem you’ve identified is truly worth solving and whether people want to have that problem solved 

2. Validating the Market Appetite
—validating the market demand or how willing people are to pay for a solution 

3. Validating the Solution Effectiveness
—validating how well you solve the problem and features 

Before diving into testing, it’s vital to prioritise what to validate.

I’m confident that you’ve created some assumptions on some ways to achieve rapid business growth. Yet, maybe you haven’t thought of them as an assumption. It may look like - “People really need this solution. Just wait and see!” “People are already lining up to pay for it.” 

That’s why you want to shift from operating on a wild guess to conducting a rapid test.

A risky assumption has high uncertainty and high implications. Any assumption that is high in uncertainty and high in implication is an assumption you want to test before testing any other assumption. To help you establish which assumption to focus on, it pays to assess it with some criteria. 

The assumptions plotted furthest into the top right corner of the graph are the ones you need to test first. 

1. Problem Merit
Validating the problem merit will reveal how much interest people have in a problem solved by either measuring an action they do or have done. For example, one way to test the merit of your insight is to write a blog post about the problem you are addressing.  

Suppose the number of views figures for a video you created about a problem you are addressing have increased by 30% compared to your average. There, you have some reliable data to validate that you’ve got a problem worth solving. Suppose the number of views decrease by 50%. There, your data suggest this isn’t a problem that your market segment is interested in having solved.

You can use as many of the five highly effective ways to test whether your customers really want a solution to your identified problem. 
  
  • Fake door testing/feature tabs
  • Spoof landing page 
  • Smoke test (test advertisements) 
  • Classified advertisement (Create a post selling your potential product to assess the interest in it) 
  • Product demo video (Give them a visual experience of using your service or product innovation)

Let’s bring these techniques back to your business growth. 

Do you have some space on your website to place a feature tab or button for something that isn’t built yet?

Or could you create a small advertisement sending them to a spoof website landing page that talks about the problem?

And most importantly, can you monitor the number of people clicking on it or all subsequent clicks to give them more information? 

2. Market Appetite
Validating the market appetite will verify the customer’s willingness to pay and tests the level of commitment someone has relative to the effort or behaviour required. For example, visiting and browsing a website takes little effort or commitment and isn’t a sufficient validator for a willingness to buy. But making an effort to click a buy button, or fill out a survey, demonstrate a commitment and effort that translates into a willingness to buy.

There are several ways to test the market’s willingness to buy from you, and once again, the best test will depend on what type of solution you have. To help you through this, I have identified the top four techniques.

  1. Run a paid event on problems and solutions. (When advertising the event, present the problem, pain points, and the compelling need for a solution. 
  2. Create a buy now simulation. 
  3. Collect pre-orders. 
  4. Look into crowdfunding (think of sites like kickstarter.com)

The more people that click to commit to your offer, the more validation you have.

You know that customers are interested in a product when they click on a buy now button. Why not build a buy now simulation before you make the product? If no one clicks on your buy now button after visiting your advertisement and landing page, your solution isn’t compelling enough. 
3. Solution Effectiveness
Validating the solution’s effectiveness will determine whether your solution effectively solves the problem. Rather than building the whole prototype, you create a fast, inexpensive prototype to test one component for your solution. 

For example, you might make a paper prototype to show how a user might experience an app you have designed. You then have something you can quickly test on someone and use to elicit useful feedback. 

Now, have you considered whether your solution solves the problem well enough? Welcome to the world of solution prototyping. 

You can test your solution in many ways, but the best test will depend on what type of solution you have. To help you through this, I have identified the top five techniques. 

  1. Paper or cardboard prototyping (cheapest and easiest ways to build a conceptual prototype)
  2. Mashup (finding and combining any existing bit of technology or material to build a rough version of your prototype)
  3. Five people test  The five people test was created by one of the godfathers of user experience design (UX), Jakob Nielsen

Nielsen discovered that using just five people would give you 80% of all the input you require.

Any additional people interviewed after the initial five were more or less reiterating what the first five people had pointed out. 


The learning occurs when testing a solution to check with five targeted people first.

Watch how they interact with your prototype, and then ask them why they did certain behaviours.

Based on the insights and ideas you gain from this first test group, make improvements.

Once the upgrades are complete, come back and test with a new set of five people.

With each iteration improvement, you will continue to improve. 


  1. Quick exposure memory test (show your product to a potential customer for 5 secs) to assess the product’s purpose and what information they took away
  2. Sean Ellis product-market fit survey (a post-trial survey that assesses how someone would feel if they couldn’t use your product again) 

A prototyping motto I once heard used within a world-leading software company, Autodesk, was, “If you have to ask for money to build your first prototype, you’re aiming too high, too soon.”

Prototype cheaply and quickly. 


CONCLUSION
By the way, these very same three validation techniques method I outlined to you is what I consistently use to generate an increase of over 120% output for my clients.

If you’d like me to guide you and help create your dream growth results via low-risk business innovation, I’d be delighted to help you.

My mission is to help leaders like you start getting results within weeks of working with each other.

Knowing that your time is tight and you can’t do everything yourself. Make sure you download The Relaxed Innovation Leaders Guide to Getting Anyone to Innovate.

This value-packed resource will help lessen your workload by getting others to help you achieve your business growth goals at minimal risk.


I’m excited to find out how you go with this tool. 

Please DM or email with your success stories or challenges if you have any.

Cheers,
Nils

PS: Whether you're looking for an innovation agency to improve your product with innovation, create an innovation disruption, or hack your business growth, we're here to help.


Nils Vesk is a Four-Time Author and International Keynote Speaker. Nils has worked globally with over 200 bluechip companies including 3M, American Express, Canon, Caltex, Microsoft, Nestle´, IBM, Fuji Xerox, PWC, HP and Pfizer.
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About Nils Vesk


He's the founder of Ideas With Legs.

His  clients call him a Reinvention Renegade. Nils Vesk is an international authority on innovation and the inventor of the ‘Innovation Archetypes Process’.

Around the globe, leading companies such as Nestle, HP & Pfizer turn to Nils to share his proven innovation techniques for formulating commercial insights, ideas, extraordinary customer experiences and irresistible products.

Nils unpacks the million-dollar innovation principles used to create rapid growth for the future.

Nils is the author of a number of books including "Ideas With Legs - How to Create Brilliant Ideas and Bring Them to Life", and "Innovation Archetypes - Principles for World Class Innovation".

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