Far too many of todays businesses (and the principles on which they’re built) base their foundations on what used to work, fixed plans around fixed ideas. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that things are very different from what they were 1000, 100 or even just 10 years ago, which is my business modelling and experimentation is on the rise.
Its moving fast, has become hyper dynamic and is forcing us review the balance between both the “big” (think country or company) and the “small” (think groups and people) and so as businesses or entrepreneurs we’ve got to reconsider our approach to developing and growing new companies and ideas when finding ourselves in these new evolving states.
All too often it used to start (and still does) with a product or service idea and then a business plan which is ultimately designed to support the ideas of the entrepreneur, when actually what we need is a business model based around fulfilling a need, want or desire which can be tested and experimented with until we know what works, not what we think might work. In the world of trading (such as shares and currencies) there is a famous saying that “the market is always right” and this is becoming more and more true of business today, let the market show you what will work and what won’t.
No longer should it be about betting the farm on a fixed idea, and bashing it until “it” (or you) dies, because it’s not aligned well enough with the market (end user or customer). Instead we can test and evolve a model with the market in real time, letting the market decide the outcome. The need for integrated marketing that allows for the testing of marketing ideas (and therefore product/service concepts) which can be feed back into the development process is crucial.
Usually businesses and their ideas mostly fall into two categories (a bit like marketing) which are either too creative (that includes being too emotionally attached to something) or too business focused (overly analytical, process and profit orientated), ultimately failing to blend together all of these components into a workable system that touches both hearts and minds of people and which can be evolved. Yes, business models, systems and experimentation is a very creative process.
Businesses also need to shift their mind-set from product or service orientated views into ones which are far more customer centric, designed and built around the market and its inhabitants. In much the same way that marketing is now evolving to be more centric and “inbound”. It’s about the people and the relationships and conversations.
As somebody who’s spent time at different stages of the idea creation to realisation and delivery process (and not always successfully) the concept of modelling and experimentation is a liberating approach to developing a business and gives us the opportunity to do things without losing a ton of money and time on ideas that won’t take.
Here’s how other companies, among the leaders in this field are using these concepts such as IDEO.
As much as I love engineers and scientists (its my background after all), often I find myself confronted with people who want absolute perfection. Yet the perfection they seek, is perfection of their own mind, not the markets or the customers and it will kill the company or that idea if too much time is spent on tinkering to get it just right or perfect instead of letting the market decide in real time and evolving it as you start your relationship with the market.
Lots of companies have what’s know as “lunch and learn” sessions where different groups or individuals talk others through their experiences on a project so that others can see how it was handled in the real world and not just down on paper or conceptually.
Planning is great, however the real learning and delivering is achieved in the doing and so we need rules or guidelines give us direction as well as the flexibility to change direction when necessary.
Likewise, business is really done in the doing, which is why failure is so important and even more so today. You’ve got to be prepared to fail more and let go of emotional ties to things until you’ve been proven right or wrong and as quickly and cost effectively as possible. What you think has no relevance when its comes to success, its what others think that will determine the ultimate success of your idea and the organisation that supports it. However there are things or guidelines that will help you understand if you are headed in the right direction;
Please tell us about your own experiences of launching and learning.