This article is a summary of the methodology we practice at 0smosis. We use it to build and validate fintech ventures at a rapid pace.
Hey! Ever had an awesome idea but it ended up in your to-do pile just to be forgotten? 🤔
I'm about to tell you how you can turn your ideas into actions without any specific skills but a can-do mentality!
In five steps, you'll find out how to build a product or service from scratch and turn your thoughts into real working startups.
1. 🧐 Discover the problem before the job to be done
Firstly, it isn't about the idea. Think about the problem you're solving. This is the most important thing you have to figure out before continuing your build journey.
Not every idea is a good idea, as not every problem is a problem worth solving. To find out if a problem is worth tackling, look at the number of people having this problem vs. how much they want this problem fixed.
Let me explain: If a lot of people have an issue with something they don't want fixing, maybe it isn't worth fixing. On the other hand, if there is a huge problem only a few people want desperately fixing, then maybe it isn't worth fixing either.
The more people in combination with the more desperately they need the fix, the better your solution will be received.
Secondly, you have to figure out and validate what job your customer is trying to do.
E.g. Nobody heats water just as a job. The end goel of heating water could be to make coffee, in this case, the job to be done (JTBD) is making coffee.
Finding a problem you want solved won't be enough, a JTBD framework will help you pinpoint the obstacles inside of a job's problem.
If you can create a solution which tackles the important obstacles of a job to be done you will be almost certain that you'll create something people will use.
Here's is a detailed explanation of how the process of finding your customer's job to be done works
✔️ Find a problem worth solving
✔️ Validate and pinpoint the problem with JTBD interviews
2. ✏️ Start sketching
Now that we've created a focal point with our JTBD framework. Let's start sketching up some things to start shaping a solution. No worries, you don't have to be Van Gogh to sketch.
Here's a step-by-step of what you can do to generate a solution from scratch:
- Find inspiration anywhere you can. Scour the internet or look magazines you have laying around. basically, any form of inspiration will do. 🕑 30 min
- Write down key info and interesting stuff. 🕑 15min
- Doodle some stuff, rough solutions that you might have in might. 🕑 15min.
- Crazy 8's, sketch eight variations of your solution (or a part of it), take one minute per sketch. This helps spark creativity. 🕑 15min.<br/>https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yz4g87XapQ0
- Take time to sketch the final structure. 🕑 90min.
Note that you don't always have to sketch an interface. You could sketch a scenario, a conversation, an installation, a story, ... Anything that has to do with your solution in mind.
✔️ You have an idea of what your solution will look like
3. 👉🏼 Decide on the solution
If you are working in team, vote on the best parts of everyone's solution. Take these top voted parts and combine into your final solution. If necessary, make a new sketch. This should be the blueprint of your solution and you should be able to build your solution based on this final sketch.
Next, visualise the customer's journey. This creates a better understanding of your solution's process and helps you find missing steps.
✔️ You know what your solution will look like
4. 🛠 Prototype
When building prototypes the most important thing is not building the prototype but getting validation from your test crowd.
Below I've defined four profiles, find the best fit for you or your team:
A. You / your team have no developer skills nor design skills
Building a landing page can be a quick and easy way to create a digital billboard. I recommend using Launchaco (fast but less features) or Instapage (less fast but more features). Both have a (different) templating system which makes them hassle free if you want a great design without a lot creative input.
If you or your team belong in this category, I recommend focussing on a clear message. Your landing page should contain the unique selling points and a call-to-action to a mailing list form. Based on the number of visitors vs. the number of people willing to subscribe to your mailing list (this is called conversion) you'll know if the product is worth building or not.
If you have sketched your solution, try to make some mockups as what the final product will look like, don't spend too much time on this. Integrate these mockups in your website as "screenshots" and you'll have a great looking landing page ready for validation.
B. You / your team are (a) developer(s) with no design skills
If you belong to this category I would recommend working with a framework and a design system. I always use Angular and Material myself but feel free to pick your own.
In combination with a prebuilt boilerplate this is a great way of rapidly creating interfaces.
This way you can create a basic version of your solution in no time.
C. You / your team are (a) designer(s) with no developer skills
This one's a bit more easy...
Sometimes you just want to validate the user journey. Create mockups with a graphic design tool (I prefer Sketch) and make it clickable using (Sketch or Invision). Focus on the interface and the user experience and you'll have a validatable solution in no time.
D. You / your team are (a) designer(s) as well as (a) developer(s)
Great, this is a powerful combination you have here. If you combine mockups and code, together, you can create a powerful illusion of a working solution.
Your solution can be built as a click model for the most part. Interactive features such as input forms and variable data can be created with code.
If you're interested in knowing which techniques I use for rapid prototyping, check out the next article in this series.
What if I don't need to build an app or a website??
With prototyping, it's all about the illusion of a working solution. Think about an old far west movie, where they would only build facades on set which would give the illusion there are real buildings in the movies.
If you're building an installation, create a play about using said installation...
If you're making a chatbot, write down a script and talk live to people, pretending you're a chatbot...
The most important thing is gathering validation from your customers. Build towards getting it!
✔️ You have turned your sketch into a working and "validatable" prototype
Next week I will publish a detailed post about the ⚡️fastest ⚡️way to create prototypes. Follow me on LinkedIn to get the update: https://www.linkedin.com/in/arnoravijts/
5. 👥 Test
Now it's time to get the validation we've been talking about. Get out there and find about five people within your target audience. Show them your product. Let them give you pointers, things they like / dislike.
If you have a bigger budget, throw the thing online. Setup some ads and let analytical tools collect the data you need to get extra validation.
✔️ You have validation from your target audience, use it to pivot where necessary and scale what was deemed a success.
So what now?
Try it yourself, you'll see... And if you have any trouble don't hesitate to ✉️ me at firstname.lastname@example.org