December 2018

CSIRO ON Accelerate 5 – Reflections on lean/design thinking

I recently put in another week at CSIRO ON Accelerate program in Sydney. David Ireland and I run the ON Accelerate program (sits under the National Innovation and Science Agenda) for CSIRO and the broader research sector including all publicly funded universities and research centres and partner organisations like the Defence Science and Technology Group. ON Accelerate is the premiere national science and technology accelerator open to the top 10 teams from institutes across Australia (20 teams get into the bootcamp and up to 10 are selected to go on to the Accelerator). Over the course of the bootcamp we facilitated a series of great interactive sessions on the importance of Structured Customer Discovery, Value Proposition Design, Business Model Design and also facilitated mentoring sessions for the teams. The program is called ON Accelerate 5, celebrating the fifth time we have run the program.

 

I have recently written a lot about developing a deeper understanding of the customer and using lean / design thinking and value proposition design within organisations.

 

It is great to see 20 teams who have all experienced the value of quality customer discovery and lean / design thinking and value proposition design. They have all de-risked their projects and enhance the potential uptake of their product or service (solution) before launch.

 

I have also seen corporate product management teams experience workshops like this in action. The workshops enable teams to understand the need to develop a deeper understanding of the customer and to focus on early adopters and innovators in their customer groups.

 

Having now run many of these workshops for research teams and product managers, I’ve made some observations about the typical things that surprise participants when they undertake these programs:

  • How valuable it is to have a deeper understanding of the customer,
  • how valuable it is to identify potential early adopters and innovators, and
  • how valuable it is to enhance your solution language to resonate with customers.

 

This clearly highlights the importance of structured customer discovery and value proposition design processes, both for new innovators and for existing businesses.

I have been amazed at the exciting new projects CSIRO ON Accelerate 5 teams are

working on. I can’t wait to see these products and services in the market!

INSEAD Paris trip: Reflections on entrepreneurship

I recently put in another week at INSEAD in Fontainebleau. I presented a couple of great interactive sessions on the importance of Structured Customer Discovery and Value Proposition Design and also ran mentoring sessions for MBA Candidates.

 

I have recently written a lot about understanding the customer and using value proposition design within organisations.

 

While participants in these kinds of sessions quickly see the value of ‘doing the work’ and getting into quality customer discovery and value proposition design, in the busyness of every day life, product management teams don’t always stop to consider how much money they may be wasting on things customers don’t really want, or how much money is being left on the table due to missed opportunities. So I thought I’d quickly highlight why a thorough approach makes such a difference.

 

Why structured customer discovery matters:

·       It enables a deeper understanding of the customer and their perspective, in order to give them what they really want.

·       It can enable a focus on early adopters and innovators in the customer group, creating scale quickly.

·       It enables a structured method of de-risking product development and launch.

 

Why a strong value proposition using design thinking makes a difference:

·       It’s a great way to quickly get all of the teams’ assumptions documented, in order to be tested.

·       It’s a great way to map out how to build value from a customer perspective.

·       It’s a great way to focus, and to de-risk, a product development program.

 

Where businesses quickly start to see results after the ‘hard work’ of planning and product development in this way is:

·       The ability to shift a product from just another product to a highlydesirable product.

·       Enhanced, customer-centricproduct language, used to promote the product, at launch time.

·       Building strong support of early adopters and innovators in the customer group.

 

These approaches are now being widely used with much success in ‘thinking centres’ like universities/research centres and businesses that want the edge, across Australia and around the world. Businesses will soon discover their competitors will be taking on this thinking too.

 

I have been amazed at the exciting new projects INSEAD MBA’s are working on. Many of the ideas I saw are also entrants in the INSEAD Venture Competition. I can’t wait to see these start-ups in the market!