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Roadmap for building user-centric startups

From Concept to Reality: Supercharge your Startup's Growth with the powerful resource

When Jeff Bezos launched Fire Phone in 2014, an expensive and not very functional phone device in the face of competition with Apple or Samsung, the market did not welcome it with open arms. Within two months of its launch and with less than 35K units sold, Amazon lowered the price of the phone from a base price of $650 to just 99 cents. But not all of us great innovators can pull off fiascos of that magnitude. That a digital product does not work, it is simply a failure, a waste of money and time.

Can we avoid it, or transform it into a possibility to find new ways to innovate? Yes, that is the approach, through running a combination of Concept Sprint and Design Sprint you find a more successful way to build digital products that are truly used, effective, and approachable. No assumptions about your potential customers and users; the problem of our friend Bezos at the launch of Fire Phone.

In this new blog post, we will see about this methodology and two main points that compose the design sprint scheme: the problems, needs, and your potential customers, or user personas.

How to launch a business idea to succeed?

A visual depiction of the iterative refinement process to discover a strong concept for a thriving business.

For a business idea to succeed, it needs to intersect with a concept. A Concept Sprint is an accelerated development process – usually for a digital product, or where you focus on what will produce a commercial impact, that solves problems or needs focused on a user, community, or audience.

This process is instrumental in driving innovation and guiding organizations toward meaningful solutions. It enables teams to explore various angles, refine their thinking, and gain a deeper understanding of the problem they are trying to solve.

While the prototype phase involves creating tangible representations of ideas to test with users, the concept sprint centers around effectively communicating the concept to relevant stakeholders. These individuals may include key decision-makers, subject matter experts, or potential customers. By presenting the concept, the sprint team seeks to gather valuable insights and perspectives that can further refine and enhance the initial concept.

The concept sprint answers those questions like this: What is the business problem that needs to be solved? What research needs to be conducted to understand the customer's needs and pain points? What are the next steps for implementation or further iteration based on the test results? What are the roles and responsibilities of each team member?

This feedback-centric approach distinguishes the concept sprint from other innovation methodologies, the emphasis is placed on engaging with the target audience and gathering diverse opinions and perspectives.

A concept sprint aimed at innovating a product looks like this:

● Moving from generating a feature > to focusing on what impacts the end user and increasing real business value.

● You will overcome a vague roadmap > to define a clear, limited, and comprehensive set of features and sequences focused on achieving those improvements.

We have created a powerful Playbook: Find a concept for your startup to provide guidance by articulating triggers and identifying common mistakes to avoid, guiding you in the process of creating concepts and designing digital products. If you would like to learn more and build a solid concept, click here to download the Playbook.

Take 10 days to run a combination of Concept Sprint and Design Sprint, to define a successful direction for your startup.

The Concept Sprint and Design Sprint are processes that combined, typically last 10 days (although they can be adjusted based on flexibility) and are used to solve complex challenges by prototyping and testing with the customer (or end-user). They help teams to reduce discussions and move to action. Additionally, they provide a clear understanding of the product to be developed and its intended purposes.

Most organizations today are not designed for continuous innovation. Innovation, if it happens, happens slowly or people in the organization may be attached to existing models and ideas. Even to beliefs or misconceptions about their customer. By conducting Design Sprints, we reduce the number of products built that do not add value, providing practical applications to the process of designing and developing products for a company.

To do this, we will look at two key points of the design sprint: the problems and the people.

Design Sprint contains a five-day proposal, to get more understanding of your users and refine your business to solve real problems.

The ideal Design Sprint provides time for team members to reflect on their ideas and challenges and also offers opportunities to validate or disrupt those ideas.

Let's see what you'll do in a week-long Design Sprint:

Monday: Start with a problem, and try to understand it.

With your team, you will need to figure out, what is the goal of the sprint.

Tuesday: Get to focus on solutions.

Create a space for creativity, spend some time sketching possible solutions

Wednesday: Deciding the sprint direction.

The goal is to choose the most promising solution.

Thursday: Prototyping a solution.

The best moment of the week has arrived: prototyping a solution.

Friday: Test the prototype with real users

Conduct interviews at least with 5 customers who experience the identified problem.

Everything starts with a good idea, but first, there must be a problem.

You can't define a good solution until you understand the problem you're solving. To find good problems you can dig into personal experiences, look at an industry that requires change or innovation, and even download the Playbook where you will find other ideas to guide you in this search.

Sometimes a team can focus too much on replicating what already exists, rather than solving what a user or customer really needs. Digging deeper into your user persona's needs or problems, will motivate the team to develop products with purpose.

If you have data or information about your problem, explore facts, and assumptions, and ask questions to consider what problems users face. You may find issues that are related or unrelated that will help you understand the full context. The goal is to paint as complete a picture as possible to understand the context of the situation.

Finally, the final step on day one is to answer, "Who is the customer, who is the user, and what are their problems?" You will all share the relevant context so that the answers to these questions are clearly understood.

You can go deeper into these key ideas without having the next step resolved.

Know the User: focus on people

To be successful, it is important to understand all the stakeholders surrounding a project, product, or service. But, keep the people at the center of your work. They are the ones who will buy and use your product.

Personas are a good way to explore who those people are. Personas are composite constructs of people, representations of the different types of people who use your product.

They can be imaginary, but not fictional, as they are based on the knowledge of your customer and/or user base.

Personas have less to do with demographics and more to do with context, attitude, and behavior. If you have data at this stage, you can update the group and double-check that your assumptions are correct. If you don't have personas yet, that's OK; this is a good time to investigate who you are solving the problem for.

Remember that the goal of a design sprint aims to get the validation needed to maximize the chances of creating something people want. Design sprints can be measured in different ways, from the number of ideas generated, achieving good results, getting a successful prototype, and more.

And as we shared with you in the Playbook: Beyond the startup dream of founding a successful tech company, we will get into the core of every product search. More than developing products, we will develop a solution for a customer.

To start, you'll need to dive deeper into the Concept and Design Sprint processes, exploring key steps that will help you create your next great prototype. You can find detailed guidance on this in our previously named resource: Find a Concept for Your Startup.

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