“First develop a customer, then develop a product.” *
Build. Measure. Learn. The Lean Startup loop is at the heart of what we do. I wanted to share with you how we recently put it into action and what it means for developing both products and strategies at speed.
The Upstart way has three parts:
Understand: We gather insight, put it on the table and look at it from different angles.
Think: The team uses design thinking to imagine what the strategic solution could be
Plan: Everyone plans and commits to actions to support the implementation of the strategy
Our value hypothesis (we prefer the most simple language so we call it a "hunch") is that this can work in corporate environments as well as with the startups and SMEs we've worked with. So we built a product to suit the buyer and what we thought were their needs. That's the “Build“ part.
So what did we want to “Measure”? We’re in a B2B environment and selling this in person to get first hand feedback. Rather than tracking A/B testing and conversion metrics, we wanted qualitative feedback on key questions such as "I'd buy that" - or "the price is wrong." In this case, “Measure” was all about making sure we were in the right zone on three key metrics.
By proactively asking for feedback, we managed to “Learn.” And that learning was that something in our core offer was broken. Our target audience was having difficulty with even the first piece. The "Understand" piece meant an obligation to crunch through a pile of unread documents. No-one could see beyond that first wall to even thinking about thinking, never mind planning.
So in just 24 hours we pulled out the first part of the programme and broke out Understand as a standalone product. Instead of targeting the whole enchilada, we produced something which addresses a stated customer need. Now we have a product which turns a pile of unread reports and articles into a starter deck. It uses our digital tools and dedicated team to extract content at speed, explode and reassemble themes and present an MVP - minimum viable presentation. Transparent pricing, a tangible set of deliverables and time-bound delivery are part of the package.
It might work. It might not. We have priced it as a beta to get shared learning. And it's not what we thought we'd be selling. But most importantly we're applying our own process to our own challenges - eating our own dogfood. We built something, we tested against the market, the market spoke. We reacted, changing product, pricing and go to market strategy in under a day.
*This is not my quote. If it was you, then please put your hand up as the article is lost in time.