Start here.

This Design Your Own Business Guide is unique in that it takes you step-by-step through discovering/testing your business idea, to creating your business model around what your customers need. It’s built around the Lean Design Thinking Canvas that is the first to combine two things: design thinking and lean startup principles. Two of the dominating approaches to creating innovative and proven businesses today.

Whether you are new to startups or are looking to redesign your current business, this guide makes it a simple process for assembling the parts of your business model around the lifeblood of your business: your customers.

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Pricing Strategies

Pricing Strategy

A business can choose between two pricing tactics when launching a new product:

  • Penetration pricing means setting a relatively low price to boost sales. It is often used when a new product is launched, or if the firm’s main objective is growth.
  • Price skimming means setting a relatively high price to boost profits. It is often used by well-known businesses launching new, high quality, premium products.
  • Customers. Price affects sales. Lowering the price of a product increases customer demand. However, too low a price may lead customers to think you are selling a low quality ‘budget product’.
  • Competitors. A business takes into account the price charged by rival organisations, particularly in competitive markets. Competitive pricing occurs when a firm decides its own price based on that charged by rivals. Setting a price above that charged by the market leader can only work if your product has better features and/or appearance.
  • Costs. A business can make a profit only if the price charged eventually covers the costs of making an item. One way to try to ensure a profit is to use cost plus pricing. For example, adding a 50% mark up to a sandwich that costs £2 to make means setting the price at £3. The drawback of cost plus pricing is that it may not be competitive.

There are times when businesses are willing to set price below unit cost. They use this loss leader strategy to gain sales and market share.

The above information is sourced from here.

Revenue Streams (7 types):

  1. Asset Sale………………physical products…………………………………….(cars, food)
  2. Usage Fee………………ability to use a service………………………………(minute-based cell phone plans)
  3. Subscription Fee……continuous access to service………………………(membership fees)
  4. Lending, Renting, Leasing..exclusive, limited-time right to a product……..(rental cars)
  5. Licensing……………….permission to use protected IP……………………(commercial use of music, labels)
  6. Brokerage Fees………intermediary services………………………………..(commissions on financial transactions)
  7. Advertising…………….right/space to advertise another product……..(billboards, product placement)

For more information on pricing and revenue, visit here.

Keeping track of and forecasting money

There are three views of your finances you need to monitor in your business:

  • Balance Sheet
  • Profit and Loss Statement
  • Cashflow Forecast (usually 3-5 years)

Balance Sheet

This is a snapshot of the health of your business on a single day. Think of it as looking at the standings of a football team at the end of a match. What information would you consider to determine which one was performing the best in the league?

When it comes to your business, when you are putting together your Balance Sheet you are looking at assets, liabilities and equity.

Assets are what your business has that is of value and can be measured objectively: such as cash, inventory and property. Some assets are intangible, such as software, your brand name or a patent. Other assets are tangible, such as a vehicle, building or items you currently have in stock (inventory).

Liabilities are finances you owe to others: things like debts (such as a loan from a bank) and obligations to people like investors, suppliers, the government (taxes), etc.

Equity is money you raise from people like investors or shareholders (note: if you own the business you are a shareholder) and earnings from your Profit and Loss account.

There are a few ways of doing a balance sheet. Usually assets are “listed in the descending order of their liquidity (how quickly and easily they can be converted to cash). Similarly, liabilities are listed in the order of their priority for payment. In financial reporting, the terms “current” and “non-current” are synonymous with the terms “short-term” and “long-term,” respectively, and are used interchangeably”. —Investopedia

 Here is the basic formula for a Balance Sheet:

Assets = Liabilities + Equity

“A balance sheet represents a company’s financial position for one day at its fiscal year end, for example, the last day of its accounting period, which can differ from our more familiar calendar year. Companies typically select an ending period that corresponds to a time when their business activities have reached the lowest point in their annual cycle, which is referred to as their natural business year.” Investopedia

Profit and Loss Statement (Income Statement)

This is similar to a balance sheet, but is more than a snaphot in time. Rather, it’s over a specific period such as a financial quarter, and states whether the company is making or losing profit during that period. Think of it as looking at the standings of a football team at the end of a season. What information would you consider to determine which one was performing the best in the league?

Cash Flow

While a Balance Sheet records a snapshot in time, a Cashflow Statement covers a longer period and tells the story of when money is flowing in and out of the business. Think of it as looking at the standings of a football team over 3 years. What information would you consider to determine which one was performing the best in the league?

The main purpose of a cash flow statement is to determine whether you have enough cash to pay expenses that are about to be due. Simply selling a lot of goods will not solve that problem. Here is an example:

Say you sell a record number of cars in a month. These cars are sold through a loan company, who will pay you for the cars on behalf of the customer. After all of the paperwork is processed, the money for the cars is transferred to your account in 60 days. However, the problem is that the car manufacturer requires to be paid for the cars within 30 days of the sale. What problem does this create?

Cash flow helps you keep track of the timing of your outgoings and incomings to help you predict two things:

  • your break-even point: where the money invested in the business equals the money earned and the business begins to run at a profit)
  • your shutdown point: when you are going to run out of money to keep the business solvent

By being able to anticipate either of these points, you can make decisions on whether to expand or look for other sources of revenue to keep the business afloat.

One thing is for sure—if you are not keeping track of the money, you will run your business into the ground. If you don’t manage your money, your money will manage you.

For the purposes of your assessment, you need to fill out the forms in the finance folder on Studyspace. This includes your estimated start-up costs, that you will use to create your cashflow statement.

http://money.futureofmusic.org/40-revenue-streams/

Innovation

Today we’re going to divide into teams and each group will present an innovation principle. How could you use these innovation principles while developing your feasibility study and business plan this year?

Diego Rodriguez offers some ideas on how to be innovative, calling them “21 Innovation Principles” (notice one is yet to be written). Have a look and consider how you could use these principles in developing your own business as you think about your business idea and passion. Look for other examples that add to his initial posts, either on his blog or elsewhere online. You will have 3 minutes to present your principle in class, starting at 4:00 pm.

 

Survey Design

Today we are learning about how to be innovative through experimentation. Taking the last class which was mostly discussion (with the exception of the exercise in using a random object for inspiration), today’s class is going to be mostly active doing.

So remember: confidence, observation and experimentation. If you don’t have all three, it’s difficult to innovate.

So, you should have had the opportunity to run at least two experiments this term. Many of you have used surveys to test parts of your business plan. Here are 20 Top Tips for writing a good survey, written by Martin Day.

20 Top tips to writing effective surveys

Writing surveys is easy; or is it? The truth is that writing surveys is easy but writing effective surveys is more difficult. The following are twenty tips that if followed will help you write more effective surveys.

1. What is the purpose of the survey?

Surveys are conducted for many reasons. By phrasing the questions and structuring the answers surveys can be used in a multitude of ways and for a variety of reasons. When compiling a survey don’t loose sight of its purpose.

2. Title the survey

The survey title is a golden opportunity to instantly summarise a survey’s objective and grab the attention of invited respondents. Respondents are going to invest time in completing the survey so make them feel that their investment is worthwhile.

3. Ask one question at a time

Avoid confusing the respondent with a question like ‘Do you like football and tennis?’

4. Ensure that the questionnaire flows

When asking questions group the questions into clear categories as this makes the task of completing the survey easier for the participants.

5. Use plain English, avoid jargon and acronyms, maintain consistency and don’t ask questions that may result in ambiguous answers

Care must be taken in wording a question. If a question is not clear then there is every chance that respondents may interpret the question differently to that intended by the publisher making any analysis of the data meaningless or at the very least misleading.

6. Do not make the survey any longer than it needs to be

Every question that is asked should be asked for a reason. Focus on ‘need to know’ questions and minimise ‘nice to know’ information.

7 . Ensure that the answer format used allows the respondent to answer the question being asked

Allow the respondent to answer how they really feel or they may be less inclined to complete the survey. As a last resort consider the benefit of including a “Don’t know”, “Can’t say” or similar response option.

8. Avoid long questions

Try to use short sentences wherever possible. Long questions tend to cause respondents discomfort and can lead to a higher level of incidents where respondents abandon a survey.

9. Give careful consideration to the best response format

It is good practice to maintain a consistency in the format used for responses. Keep in mind that when analysing the data radio buttons are easier to analyse than check boxes that offer the respondent multiple responses. Do not use a check box if a radio response would do.

10. At the same time that you compile the survey consider, when the survey is complete, how the compiled data is going be analysed

If a question is asked that allows a free text open ended response appreciate that such information is likely to be difficult to score and/or summarised. Consider grouping answers. For example “How long have you worked here?” – ‘less than 1 year’, ‘between 1 and 3 years’ and ‘more than 3’.

11. Allow the respondent to expand or make comments

Allowing the respondent to make additional comments will increase their satisfaction level and will also give valuable feedback on the specific questions and/or the survey as a whole. Remember though for a large sample collection it may be difficult to analyse free text open ended responses.

12. Weigh up the benefits of allowing respondents to be anonymous or identifiable

If your respondents are to be anonymous then appreciate that you will be unable to follow up or match “pre” or “post” surveys. However in some cases allowing people to remain anonymous will allow people to respond without possible peer pressure.

13. Give the respondent an idea of how much time the survey will take

Respondent drop out can occur if the survey appears to be a stream of never ending questions. It is good practice to give an indication as to how long the survey is likely to take so the respondents can choose the best time to complete the survey.

14. Target your respondents

In some cases you will want to target a specific group, in others a cross section. If you can’t easily control the respondents consider including questions/answers that will allow you to filter out respondents who don’t fit your target profile.

15. Avoid influencing the answer

It is important not to load the question. ‘Should irresponsible shop keepers who sell tobacco to children be prosecuted?’ is unlikely to have any value.

16. Pilot the survey and TEST IT before launching it

Before publishing a live survey publish a small pilot survey to check for questions that are ambiguous or confusing and to ensure that the survey is aesthetically pleasing.

17. Before publishing the survey proof read the survey several times

Check and check again that the survey is grammatically correct and makes sense. If possible It’s IMPORTANT to get someone else to proof read the survey before you publish.

18. If the survey you are conducting is to be confidential ensure that your pledge is upheld

If you have assured the respondents that the survey is confidential ensure that the individual data is not to be shared with anyone and the information is not going to be used for any other purpose. Confidentiality must be maintained at all times and any identifying information destroyed after the survey is complete.

19. Inform the respondents of the survey end date

Encourage respondents to complete the survey as soon as possible but advice respondents as to the surveys end date so that they have the opportunity to schedule the necessary time.

20. Remember to say thank you

To complete surveys respondents need to invest their time and should be thanked either in a covering letter, at the end of completing the survey or in a follow up letter. You may even want to consider incentives such as a prize draw or reward.

If you are looking to do an online survey, I recommend Surveygizmo.com. The student account has some amazing features and it’s very flexible. They also have a tutorial on creating online surveys here.

BUT, IS A SURVEY THE RIGHT WAY TO GET THE ANSWER?

This is an easy checklist to consider before using your survey. However, here are some questions to ask yourself to determine if a survey is the right way to get the information you need:

Are you looking to discover a brand new way of doing something? Something dramatically different?

Asking your target users what they need, may not be the answer. How can people know to ask for something that doesn’t already exist?

If you have this problem, its usually better to observe people in the situation you are trying to improve with your business. Think back to our exercise where you watched people come into the library through the gates. In five minutes you found several problems that need innovating—that the people with the problem themselves didn’t realise was a problem! A survey will likely take much longer to create, may be difficult to find the right people to survey and unless you ask someone who is thinking about new ways of improving their situation may not reveal the insight you need.

Are you looking to find answers to what people think or what people do?

Are responses enough? If you are trying to determine if people will buy your product at X price, a survey will reveal what they think they MIGHT do, or what you want to hear. For example, if I offer to sell my camera, I may be able to get a majority of people to agree on what price is reasonable, but when it comes time for them to pull the money out of their wallet, what do they ACTUALLY do?

If you have a problem like this, try putting your product/service (or something similar) on eBay. See if it sells. Or, have a look at the SOLD listings to see what people have ACTUALLY paid for your product/service (or something similar).

Are you looking to prove you are right by seeing if something is popular, or generates a consensus?

Another trap that is easy to fall into with a survey is whether something can still be right if it is unpopular with those you survey. For example, Herman Miller did a focus group on a new chair they were developing. Feedback from the users was that the chair didn’t look “finished” and needed to be covered. Herman Miller ignored them. That chair became the biggest selling office chair in history—the Aeron. Why? Because Herman Miller had a hunch that people didn’t like it, simply because it was too different, and sometimes different isn’t popular but it is right. Instead, they spent hundreds of hours working with people, designing it to meet the needs they observed and discovered with their testers.

If this story and this topic interests you, I urge you to read The Design of Business by Roger Martin. He’s a rock star. I also think I’ve requested copies for you in the library.

Presentation Skills Workshop

On Thursday we took to the Drama Hall and were hosted by four talented Drama students to teach us four workshops on…

Voice with Tom Whitewood:

SONY DSC

Storytelling with Joe Chamberlain:

SONY DSC

Relaxation with Sophie Ludkin:

SONY DSC

Body Language with Abigail Legg:

SONY DSC

Here are some photos from the day (you can download the full set on Studyspace in “Files You Need!”). If you use these photos in your blog, please link back to this page so everyone can be credited, thanks!

Design and Branding

What’s branding?

(notes from Dr. Corrine Beaumont, Kingston University)

  • Brand is everything that creates an experience for the customer
  • Identity is usually the visual part of the brand: logo, colours, layout, adverts, design
  • DNA is the unique message of the business that is communicated in the brand
How to design a brand as part of a marketing strategy?

Marketing Basics:

(Marketing notes from Dr. Catherine Morel, Kingston University)

STP: Segmentation, Targeting and Positioning

Segmentation: ways to divide a potential market for your product/service

Can be segmented many ways:

Behavioural: based on ‘a person’s knowledge, attitudes, uses or responses to a product/service. For example:

–current stage in the buying process
–the use occasion / benefits sought
–frequency of purchase/loyalty’

Psychographic: lifestyle, personality (tribal marketing)

Profile: demographic (your age? your gender?), socio-economic (what’s your disposable income?), geographic (where do you live?)

Targeting is deciding which, and how many, segments you want to serve.

Positioning is how you differentiate your offer compared to the competition, and how you want to be perceived in the minds of your customers. This includes how you target and how you segment and what you do with that when you create your value proposition.

“Positioning is not what you do to your products. Positioning is what you do to the mind of the prospect” — Ries and Trout
Keys to successful positioning: Clarity, Consistency, Competitiveness, Credibility

Strategies to change consumers’ perception:

•Product attributes
•Benefits offered
•Usage occasions
•Personalities
•Country of origin
•Reference to other brands
•Comparison with competitors
Marketing Mix: The 7 P’s:
Price, Product, Place, Promotion + People, Process, Physical Aspects
Difference between a product and a service? It is impossible to separate the two, both must work together seamlessly.
Communication Mix Tools:
  • Advertising – any paid form of non personal communication of ideas goods or services
  • Sales Promotion – short term incentives to encourage the purchase or sale of a product or service.
  • Public Relations/publicity – the deliberate, planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain mutual understanding between an organisation and its publics.
  • Selling and Sales Management – the personal interface between a company and its customers, aimed at achieving a sale.
  • Direct marketing – Direct communication using direct mail, telephone response media and more recently the Internet
Stages of a communication strategy:
  • Identify target audiences
  • Determine objectives to reach
  • Design of a message
  • Choice of communication tools
  • Collecting feedback
  • Setting budgets and monitoring  effectiveness

Business Ideas, how to critique them?

Let’s start by exploring a few simple questions to ask yourself when evaluating a business idea:

1. What do customers currently do to solve this problem?
Are you offering a cheaper/faster/simpler/more attractive way of solving that problem? If the answer is no to all of these questions, your idea is not worth pursuing.

2. Is there already an established market solving this need?
If so, how will you compete? If not, how will you educate your audience to use your solution you offer?

3. Are you able to manufacture this product/service at a price for less than what people are willing to pay you?
If so, is that amount enough to live on? Invest in future products? Do you receive the payments from customers in time to pay for your costs?

4. Is the market large enough to produce a profit to sustain your business?
Is it seasonal? Do you encourage repeat business? Are there enough people willing to pay for your product?

5. Is this something you enjoy doing? Do you care about your customers in a real way?
What will keep you motivated to continue working on the business when sales are slow or you run into development problems, etc?

Looking at these questions will help you to evaluate your idea before you develop a business model to support your idea. There’s no point in determining what sales channels to use if you can’t afford to make the product, or fine-tuning what your USP is if there is a free useful solution to the problem already out there.

Let’s try out these questions with two business ideas:

Costumes Business Idea

Sports Coaching

How would you evaluate these two ideas using the questions above?

Now evaluate your own business idea!

Dragon’s Den Business School: Tips from Dragons on pitching your idea.

Levi Roots: Charisma is important

Feasibility Study (Bright Ideas Entry)

Business Plan Guidelines (to be used in preparation for Bright Ideas Competition):

First of all, have a look at an entry that won in 2011. Notice how clearly the idea is communicated:

2011 Winner

Bright Ideas Competition Details here.

brightideasapplicationform2013 : that includes tips with how to fill out each section.

Public Summary 

Please provide a simple summary of your idea, no longer than 20 words. This may be used for publicity purposes – so it has to be concise and appealing. Use words that make it easy for others to explain what you offer. For example:

“Fashion Co. creates designer helmets for women who love to ride their bike, but don’t love helmet hair.”

Avoid clichés such as “quality”, “professional”, “excellence”, “value”. People should be able to assume that you are not setting out to be rubbish, offering rubbish. Notice how generic, non-specific statements like this could be used to describe anything:

“Fashion Co. sells custom bicycle helmets.”

Use this test on your own statement and see if you are specific enough or need to look through a thesaurus to find the perfect match.

Inspiration

Where did your idea come from? Did you brainstorm as a team, talk to people, look at trends overseas? (What did you observe and how did you find your need?) Tell a story, make it personal and we’ll remember. Quote trends or statistics and it will feel soulless. Percentages don’t inspire, people do. Numbers just add to the story, they shouldn’t substitute it.

1) Elevator Pitch

In 100 words, summarise your idea so that it has a real impact on the potential investor / champion. Catch my interest in 3 sentences with something like:

Did you know that x problem exists and impacts people in x way? We’ve discovered that by doing y, it can solve this problem in a unique way by doing z.

Be sure to establish the problem first, then explain how your solution is great and wanted by your market.

2) The market opportunity

This section is all about proving there is a demand in the market for your product/service. Go into the world and talk to people. Find out what their experience is by observing what they do, walk in their shoes, and keep your eyes open for opportunity. Ask WHY they choose what they do. This is often more important than asking what they think they want. As the saying goes, if Henry Ford asked people what they wanted, they would have asked for a faster horse.

To understand your observations and discussions in view of the big picture, go online, look up statistics, reports and see what your potential is. This puts your observations and experiences in context.

Now, an important note about your market potential. It’s not uncommon to hear people say, “There are a million people in England. All of them may be willing to buy our product. This is our market potential.”

  • However, if you only have three employees, how are they going to be able to handle a million orders?
  • If you only have a stock of 100 products, how long will it take to make more? Will people be willing to wait for this?
  • If you only have one person that can print out the invoices, how many can be printed in one day by one person?

Instead, you should start from the bottom-up. List your assets and your resources as they are now. Then decide what can be done with the time and money you have available. Then you know what your potential market is. For example…

David is able to print 20 orders in an hour. David works 10 hours a week as he’s going to university. How many orders can David process in a week?

Your response here should also show an understanding of who you are proposing to provide the service or product to – what sort of people / organisations are they, and what are their needs? You should consider their needs on three levels:

Emotional. What feelings need to be fulfilled? Are they worried? Are they looking to be reassured, excited? What are the reasons?

Cognitive. What information do they need to make this decision practical. Does it fit their budget? Does it save them time? What are the facts?

Physical. Is this product easy to use? Will it break? Can I carry it? Will this service improve my health?

How many possible customers are there? Will the people or organisations who pay for the service or product be the same ones who use it? (For instance, university services are usually paid for the government or the university, but they are used by students.)

Finally, in the market, are there several different kinds of customers and needs? These are called segments, and if you can, you should identify the particular segment that you are targeting. A good way to bring this segment to life is by creating a persona. A “persona” is a fictional person that represents your ideal customer. Give this persona a name, habits, a job, desires, a salary and buying habits based on what you’ve seen and read. You may decide to use several personas to define your market, but don’t get carried away. To succeed in a short amount of time with your businesses, you need to be specific about who your customer base is, and have a strategy to fully surround them with your amazing offers.

The key questions you should answer are:

  • What is the market need?
  • What size is your target market?
  • Who are your target customers?
  • Are your customers the ‘end users’? If not, who is?
  • How have you ‘segmented’ your market?

3) Competitors & Potential Collaborators

What will stand in the way of your market share? Competitors and untapped Collaborators. Who are they? Why aren’t they solving this market need already? You have to persuade a potential investor or other interested party that your product or service is worth providing, even if others aren’t already doing so. There may be substitutes already in the marketplace – other products which do most of the job in some other way. Why would customers select your solution? Again, you need to research your competitors thoroughly and understand their business as clearly as you understand your own.

Because your business is small, it’s a good idea to find someone who already has an established network or distribution channel. For instance, if you are selling gift hampers, what networks are involved in special events? Hospitals? Real Estate Agencies? Would you be adding value to their service by providing your goods? Same goes for providing a service, what goods exist that could be improved through your service?

Also, don’t consider giants like Apple or Nike to be your competitors. You are not competition to them in the least. Instead look at who the local competitors are (whether they are geographically close to you or near you on a search engine ranking counts) and how you compare or potentially connect.

The key questions to answer here are:

  • Who are your main realistic competitors?
  • Who are your potential collaborators?
  • Why are they not solving the market need that you have identified already?
  • What are the ‘substitute’ products/ services to yours?
  • What industry are you working in?

4) The product/service

In this section you need to explain what your product/service does and how it meets the market need and personas identified above.

What is its Unique Selling Point (USP)? Is it faster, cheaper, safer than existing provision? Have you offered something to the customer that compares it favourably to the competition and will make them purchase your product/service?

The key questions to answer here are:

  • What is your product or service in three words?
  • What does it do?
  • How does it meet the market needs (emotional, cognitive and physical) identified in Section 2?
  • What is the ‘Unique Selling Point’?
  • Why will the customer (identified in Section 2) buy your product/ service?

5) Market entry strategy

In order to make your business idea work, you need a strategy. This involves identifying the system you will be operating in, and explaining how you will use your system resources.

A great way to demonstrate this is through a timeline indicating the steps along the way to your goal. Each stage of this section needs to be broken down. If your first customer is a supplier rather than end user you have to understand them as much as you know your product/service and your competitors. Think about their budget and buying cycle as well as whether working with them will enhance your credibility.  How are you going to sell to your first customer? Maybe it’s through attending exhibitions, by networking or even cold calling. Be specific. What will you do if your competitors react to your product/service by dropping their price, developing new products or even waging a PR war against you?

Marketing is also a consideration. Think about the channels you will use and explain why you are using them. Don’t just say “Facebook campaign”, explain why a Facebook campaign is right for your market, and describe how long it will run, how it will target your customers and what you expect for your investment in that channel. Just buying up media channels is not a strategy. Start small (such as flyers or word of mouth) and then build up to the campaign. This also needs to be tied to your business timeline. (For instance, don’t start a big campaign to sell something if you are a month away from making it!)

Consider creating barriers to entry to protect your new market share, such as intellectual property (IP) protection through trademarks, patents, copyright or design right. Think about developing partnerships/alliances and a strong brand to give you an advantage over your competitors. Or consider how open licensing, such as “Creative Commons” would be an advantage. For instance, anyone can make an iPhone application, which has opened the market for others and made the iPhone more attractive.

Identifying specific milestones will help you assess whether you have made progress. You could categorise your milestones into commercial (for instance number of customers, market share), financial (for instance sales turnover) and / or product-development stages (for instance feasibility study, patenting, first prototypes available).

The key questions to answer here are:

  • Who is your first customer?
  • How will you target and sell to them?
  • How will your competitors react?
  • How will you create ‘barriers to entry’ or ‘reduce barrier to entry’ to build market share?
  • What partnerships/ alliances will you create to help you?
  • What ‘milestones’ do you need to achieve in order to commercialise your idea?

 

Experimentation Design (Toothbrush Day)

An example of an ‘extreme user’

1   2   3  4   5

Confidence. Observation. Experimentation. Today we’re going to look at lots of ways to test ideas and to find inspiration by DOING experiments and being observant. You’re going to learn what it’s like to be the person conducting the experiment, and how it feels to be the person who is experimented on, because empathy is a good thing to have in business when innovating.

Why is this important? You will be designing experiments similar to this as part of finding innovation and testing your innovative idea.

First, we’re going to get out our toothbrushes and see how we can innovate cleaning teeth. Think “How can I apply what I learn today to developing a new product or service through prototyping and cross pollinating?”

Ways to experiment:

  1. Change the rules.
  2. Change to an extreme user.
  3. Change the setting (place, time, century).
  4. Change the time allowed.
  5. Change the object you are testing.
  6. Add a physical constraint.
  7. Change the purpose or reason.

There are hundreds of ways, here is a great resource on different experiments to try:

fantastic list here, ideo method cards here and available in the library here.

Try it out: Cross Pollinate

Take a random object you have with you today and break it down into it’s basic function (by asking “why?” “why?” “why?”). Now use that observation to inspire a new product that is different from your own object. See what ideas you find when you take a trait from one item to inspire a new one. Consider how being observant can help you be more creative and innovate as an entrepreneur.

Look at how this idea solves a different problem:

Tetra Pak Toothpaste (thanks Hugo)

The important thing is to do when experimenting is to PLAY. If it’s serious or boring, you aren’t experimenting to the fullest.

I look forward to reading your blogs about this. Photos are also great to see.

Examples from another year.