Make a change
Start at The End: How to Build Products That Create Change
This essay is based on the book Start at The End: How to Build Products That Create Change by Matt Wallaert. I will share some step-by-step ideas of how to create meaningful products as well as my insights on some of these steps. So, let’s get started!
What is the very first question an entrepreneur should ask themselves when starting their business? Why. Through this question the root reasons for any actions can be answered. Why do I want to do this, why should I do this, why is this important etc. But what next? An entrepreneur should prioritize commercialization of their business as it will not grow and develop without income, so probably how (to make it sell) should be asked quickly after it. Imagine this; you are selling your marketing skills. You want to be the very best and highly valued upon the field of your know-how and of course your customers. You want to be the one who gains praise for the quality of your work as well as the service you provide. What if, instead promptly staring at numbers, you would step back and ask yourself the following: what’s the behavior I’m trying to promote?
Intervention process design (IPD) is assessing how to modify a potential customer’s behavior. It all begins of an insight, an assumption how and why the customer acts the way they do. This is your perception, a problem you have yourself defined and it may or may not be the actual truth. In often cases, it’s a problem you hope they have, as you may have a clear resolution to solve it. To make sure you’re on the right tracks, validation steps in. To solve the problem, you must be assured the problem exists for your customer, not per se to you.
I myself have had a pretty narrow understanding how validation should be done. Quantitative (volume) and qualitative (quality) are the two different research methods used. Depending on the topic and wanted results, either one should be used to collect data to validate your insight. I always thought volume would bring the most value, no matter what I was validating. And what better way to gain volume than through an electrical questionnaire!
Last spring, we had a competition between our teampreneurs and co-operatives. My team was validating a product that locates its users lost items. Data consisted of percentages how many people lose what of their belongings and how often. It also collected data on how many of the answerers would be interested in buying our product. My team gained over 400 answers within less than two days. Successful in reaching out? Yes. Gaining real life customers and understanding their needs? Most likely not. We did prove our insight of people losing their belongings (and in a rather quite large-scale). However, we didn’t prove our solution to be the one we a) want to promote our customers to behave like and b) have proven to be the best solution for the clients’ problem. So, in this case qualitative validation would have promoted our means more likely.
After validation is managed out properly, steps in behavioral statement. It is separated to component’s the first being the behavior you want your customer to promote. So, what is the behavior you want to promote? It may be as easy as wanting the customer to use your service or more complex as changing the way a customer feels about eating meat. Whatever the statement you want to make, be honest to yourself. This is no competition between you and others, this is your why.
Next, you want to know your target group, so in other words, clearing out your customer profiles. In rare cases, a target group is something for anyone. Even within a more restricted target group, there often are limitations and the more precise you can narrow your customers down, the easier your journey building your company will be.
The third component is to understand the motivation what you have behind promoting a certain behavior. Why do thrive for a certain outcome? Is it meaningful for you or is it a “common expectation” for companies? While it is beneficial on many levels to dream big and be ambitious, remember to stay realistic. Even within a targeted customer segment there are always limitations which need to be met by your own actions. And this is the fourth component, the preconditions to engage users to the behavior you want. Take for example Uber; though their target audience was anyone needing to travel from place a to b, their users needed to have a smartphone with a working internet connection and a possibility to execute payment electronically in order to being able to use their service.
The fifth and final component is to collect and interpret data, to measure whether the behavior you try to promote is taking place. In a simplest form you may want to measure how much users you have. In a more complex interpretation, you can explore different stages and aspect of your product or service, to find out which factors promote the desired behavior.
Now with these five components, used consistently and complementarily there is a higher chance your design will take wind under its wings. To understand your own goals and action, fuse these components to a single sentence or phrase. For Uber it would have been: “When people want to get from point A to point B, and they have a smartphone with connectivity and an electronic form of payment and live in San Francisco, they will take an Uber (as measured by rides)”. This is your chance to change the world.