As a child, I was fortunate to have access to one of the most popular creative tools of my generation, LEGO. Many of my peers took the typical path of buying the box set and assembling the intended toy, but I tended to follow the more rebellious path by trading pieces with my friends so that we could each create our own custom masterpieces.
In the end though, it didn’t matter how our creations stacked up against the preset box set toys, but rather that we were all happy with our own personalized toy. Today, this LEGO analogy embodies the same experience of a crowd-based platform, where customers can propose, create, and support new creations.
This week our project members followed a similar methodology as we started our alpha prototyping exercise. Alpha prototyping (a step prior to Beta) is an internal MVP build that has only partial user testing completed and key features that are still missing. We began the week with low fidelity prototypes that represented high-level ideas.
A key part of successful innovation is a business model that supports the sustainability of the proposed innovation. It is extremely valuable to have input and participation from a variety of roles and levels of a member organization. That input married with the customer insights we had gathered from previous weeks provides both tactical and strategic guidance in order to potentially bring the innovation to market and to monetize the venture once there is market maturity.
With the goal of producing an investable minimum viable product at the end of 12 weeks, it was great to have a rotation of members join the team at various stages of the project.
With a couple weeks under our belt, it was exciting to see the initial hesitation to create disappear as members took to the whiteboards, LEGO sets and digital tools to create. Iteration was definitely a key theme as we built, collected feedback and murder-boarded ideas in moving towards our final goal.
One exercise I found particularly useful was prototyping along a customer journey map. We identified our target persona and had mapped out an ideal experience for them, but this was even more impactful to have supporting prototypes every step of the way. We employed traditional prototyping exercises such as Crazy 8’s and Product Box prior to digitally creating these in our toolset.
In the end, it was inspirational to see the acceleration in creation in this project. From strategic input validating our business model to innovation artists creating beautiful new innovations, it was definitely a week of awe. We continue to work and iterate by applying our structured approach of Empathizing, Defining, Designing, Creating, and Testing as we march (no pun intended) towards the final stages of our project output.
I’ve observed over the last 4 weeks that given the ideal collaborative environment, players and tools, ideas can be turned into real customer focused masterpieces.