Idea Validation


Idea Validation

Idea validation is the process of gathering evidence around ideas through experimentation to make fast, informed and de-risked decisions.

It’s a process that starts from an idea and typically ends with a paying customer. The purpose of idea validation is to expose the idea to the practicality of the real world before you build and release the final product or offering.

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    Why should ideas be validated?

    New ideas have unpredictable elements and if some of them go wrong, it can destroy your plans at once. Validation reduces the risk, speeds up the delivery of a value-creating service in the market, and minimizes the costs.
    An idea should be validated before investing a significant amount of time and resources in developing it to avoid building and launching a product or concept no one wants or isn’t willing to pay for.
    The purpose of idea validation is to make sure your idea has real demand, otherwise there’s a real risk of it becoming “just another cool idea”.
    The idea must either be able to solve a real problem, fulfill its intended purpose or appeal to other incentives.
    Validating the problem first and seeing if your solution can solve that problem is typically the smartest approach. Creating a solution first and only then looking for a problem it could solve, is a bad idea if you want to minimize the risks.

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    How to validate an idea?

    As already mentioned, there are obviously different ways to validate an idea. The best way to do so depends on the nature of that particular idea. If there isn’t much uncertainty, validation might not be necessary.
    However, when it comes to new business ideas, products and concepts with more risk, idea validation is highly recommended.

    Validation is ultimately about testing assumptions. It’s important to test the riskiest assumption first and not to waste your time on something that doesn’t have potential. You can use the Play-to-Win strategy framework as a reference when conducting tests and making choices.

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    Steps to validate your idea

    Although there are multiple different ways to validate and idea, the overall validation process is quite simple and straightforward:

    In an early stage you want to focus on validating your assumptions to make sure the most critical ones for your business are true. For example, you might want to validate your target market and its potential to see if your idea is valuable and appeals to the market you’ve defined.

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  • 1. Define your goal

    Just like any idea management-related activity, validation starts with defining your goals. In this stage, you’ll decide what you want to learn and what aspects  to validate.

    You goal can be one of the following, for example:

    • Problem – Is your problem true/worth solving?
    • Solution – Is your product/offer going to solve the problem?
    • Features – How do the core features of your product work?

  • 2. Develop a hypothesis

    After you’ve defined your goal for idea validation, it’s time to develop a hypothesis based on that goal. A useful hypothesis is a testable statement, which often includes a prediction.

  • 3. Experiment and revise

    Once you have developed a hypothesis, you can actually start validating that assumption by running experiments.

    The point of experimentation is to find the fastest and cheapest way to test your assumption in practice. An experiment is a test or a set of tests that measure the effects of a hypothesis and reveal whether or not you should proceed with your idea.

    In other words, an experiment is conducted to learn if your assumption is or isn’t true. Often, the initial idea is just a starting point for a better and more refined idea because you almost always need to improve it.

    When you’re going through the validation process, you have a chance to learn how to make your idea or product even better.

  • 4. Validate and develop

    In this stage, you should confirm your assumption to be either valid or invalid. If your idea has potential, and the most critical assumption is correct, you can start refining your idea.

    Although validation isn’t always a guarantee of success, as it’s the execution that matters, having validated the most critical assumptions and using the data you’ve gathered in the validation process will definitely help when you start developing and implementing your idea.