Part 3: Ideating and getting ready to define an MVP
Part 3 in the series started in Partnership with Auxilia Global to explore the various steps entailed in product development in going from idea to product to launch. This week I will focus on ideating solutions and preparing for defining your first MVP.
In particular, we will explore the following 2 areas:
- Ideation — no boundaries
- Ideation — boundaries set
Ideation — no boundaries
You are so early in your journey to building an amazing product and this comes with some amazing benefits. It may feel like a huge sea with no land in sight but that means there is no better time to think about your crazy solutions!
So, prepare your mind, yourself and your team because this ideation time is not about finding THE solution, rather thinking of as many solutions as possible without setting any boundaries or thinking whether the solution is feasible or technically possible. No idea is a bad idea and no time should be spent in evaluating their feasibility. I couldn’t explain it better than how it was written in this month’s X’s newsletter:
Most of your ideas will be bad, and that’s the point! The outcome isn’t what’s important: it’s about seeing what your inner mad scientist comes up with. The cousin of a bad idea may well be a good idea, so you’ve gotta power through the awkwardness to find it.
They even built a game to help you and your team practice and feel comfortable in this awkwardness: https://x.company/moonshots-game/
- Set aside some time (60–90 minutes)
- Bring your team together
- Set the rules and ideally, assign someone responsible for ensuring these rules are followed (not too much time spend on an idea, quantity over quality, no feasibility exploration, no idea is a bad idea)
- Write your problem statement on a wall or somewhere where everyone will be able to see it
- Start sharing your solutions that tackle the problem statement. No matter how crazy or silly they may sound, never judge. Remember to keep notes, sketches or whatever will help you keep track of the ideas. Every contributor should be coming up with at least 10 solutions.
- Spend some time individually coming up with ideas, then sharing some and back to thinking. This will help everyone both think broad and go crazy but also build on each other’s thoughts.
- Have a laugh!
- Thank everyone for being open and sharing their crazy ideas and let them know of the next steps.
Gather the output of this session, clear up the ideas and get ready for another ideation session.
Ideation — boundaries set
This is the next step in finding your solution. Setting some boundaries and keep ideating solutions. Boundaries at this stage may include financial, technical, operational, whatever you think makes sense for your product.
- Set aside some time again (~60–90 minutes)
- Bring your team together
- Write again your problem statement on a wall but this time also write down the boundaries you have defined
- Set again the rules for this session and assign someone responsible to keep you on track. It’s time to create more solutions that meet the boundary conditions. Solutions can be built on the ones you came up with in the previous session, adjusting them to meet the boundaries, or new ones.
- Start finding new solution that solve the problem you have set while meeting the boundaries (remember to keep notes and sketches)
- If you get stuck and can’t quite find more solutions, encourage everyone to think of the worst possible solution that would still meet the boundaries. This should help you get unstuck and keep ideating (you can also try this in the first ideation session if you get stuck).
- Enjoy it!
Awesome, your session is over, and you are probably left with something like 50 different solutions to the same problem. That’s a great outcome! What I love about these sessions is how differently a problem can be solved. That’s the beauty of bringing diverse groups of people together and giving them space to think and be creative. Amazing things happen!
Take a moment to celebrate with your team or trusted friends! You’ve challenged yourself and others to innovate, go past the awkwardness of sharing “silly” ideas and coming up with creative, diverse solutions to the same problem statement. What an amazing position to be in!
Next week, we will explore how to narrow down these solutions and define and test your MVP.
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Menia is an active member of Auxilia- a group of women, passionate about increasing funding to Female founders. Menia is driven to create impact — through strong teams, products that deliver value and investments.
This article is republished from https://menia.medium.com/