4 key ways to validate your ideas

Paul Millward

Our Startup and Product development polymath.

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Updated 12 September 17

'The value of an idea lies in the using of it'

- Thomas Edison

 

So you’ve spent weeks, months even, building this really cool app that has all these really cool features with super flashy animations and a UX to die for.

 But once you throw it out into the big scary world, no one’s bothered.

 

There’s no one rushing to download it the second it’s available on the apple store and no one’s giving it a hashtag on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram… well... other than you.

 

People don’t want to use your product and you’ve got no idea why - after all, it’s so damn cool, right?

 

It’s pretty easy to end up at this dead end but wouldn’t it be great to avoid this ‘awkward silence’ altogether?

 

Well what’s the answer? It’s simple. Validation.

 

Validation is the process of checking or proving the validity or accuracy of something. It’s the ultimate way of finding out whether your ideas are more likely to be well received by the market or whether they’ll crash and burn.

 

How do you go about doing it?

 

1. Go and speak to actual humans

No really, we know it’s scary but there’s no point sitting inside all day trying to think “what would I do if I was (insert your buyer persona)”.

 

Get out there and ask your target market what they’re currently doing to solve the problem and figure out whether they even know that the problem exists in the first place.

 

From this you’ll get reliable information from the people you want to actually use your product. You can make sure you’re solving the real problem as well as making sure that your users will engage with your solution.

 

As the Japanese saying goes, “Genchi genbutsu” or in other words, “go and see for yourself”.

 

Find out how to conduct user interviews here. 

 

2. Any feedback is good feedback 

It might go against the grain, but by listening to what your users think are a bit crap you can dramatically improve your ideas.

 

Taking on negative feedback means you can derisk the solution by chucking out what doesn’t work all before you spend the big bucks on building your product.

 

3. Build, measure, learn

You don’t have to build a fully fledged product to measure and learn from. Building a simple prototype or carrying out an experiment like customer interviews, can give you valuable insights for a much lower cost and risk.

 

These insights can then guide your next round of the build, measure and learn loop.

 

Learn more here.

 

4. Fail fast

Plan A is just that… a plan. The sooner you fail the quicker you can get from plan A to whichever letter of the alphabet it takes to get a plan that works a whole lot better.

 

Failing quickly also means you can choose to pivot or persevere earlier on - and that’s always useful. Failing is one of the best methods of learning.

 

So, don’t be afraid to experiment with new ideas because you’ll always learn something.

If you would like to know more...