Designing & critiquing an idea model Before you begin Once you’ve got an idea model in hand then there are three major and distinct parts in the deliberate opportunity design process: A) critiquing; B) designing; and C) repeating and going deeper. It’s important to be disciplined when carrying these out, and to follow the rules provided here.
1. Identify a facilitator This person’s role is to make sure these rules are followed in a timely way. Today this role will go to your workshop facilitator but in many cases you will need to facilitate your own process. Choose a facilitator and write their name on the board.
2. Identify the design owner The design owner is the person whose idea model is being considered. The innovator or entrepreneur; the person whose idea we’re all going to try and improve; the person who is responsible for making it a reality in the end. Write their name down too.
3. Re-state the goals In our case the goals are given by our criteria: the venture should be highly feasible and highly impactful. Remember that instead of playing the odds of success, we’re trying to change them. So pull out your Really Big Idea Critique Pad – it serves as a reminder of what impact and feasibility mean.
4. Set a time-frame The process of Deliberate Opportunity Design is meant to be iterative, as you know. And key to this is setting a time limit. If you find you need more time then you should plan to iterate quickly and repeat the process. Each critique session should be small enough to run in a 10 minute time period. Same for a design session. (Although there might be reasons to extend either.) Remember, it’s better to “put the marshmallow on top” often than it is to wait and put it on once.
5. Check out the prototype Much like a web designer would share their mock-ups or prototypes at the start of a critique session, the designer of an idea model will share their’s with you to kick off this session. This might be done in the form of an elevator pitch – delivered formally or just over coffee. Or it might be done by sitting together so he or she can walk you through the model in printed form, e.g. using a Super Hunch Sketch Pad or a Really Big Idea Sketch Pad. Either way, you should learn the answers to the following: 1) 2) 3) 4) 5)
Who are they? (P) What are they offering? (O) Who are they offering it to? (C) Why does that person care? (VP) Do they have a core competency? (CC)
Once they begin to share their model, you’re ready to begin the critique.
A) Critiquing Unlike a design session in which the goal is to come up with ideas or solutions, a critique session is intended to evaluate an idea, provide feedback to its owner, and, possibly, provide suggestions for new directions. It’s important to go through the critique process before and separate from designing changes to your concept. Here are the rules.
1. Listen Yup. Just listen. As the designer pitches their idea model your only role is to take it in. Don’t spend the time writing things down. Rather, simply listen and reflect.
2. Ask clarifying questions If you don’t understand the concept then you might need to ask questions. Do this but keep in mind that letting someone know you have not understood them, or sharing a raw reaction can both be important forms of feedback too.
3. Write your feedback before you say it One of the biggest challenges in a group critique process is that it’s human nature to jump on other people’s ideas. You’ve been through this before: the first person shares their feedback and the conversation flows from there, often ignoring other ideas or leaving little time for them. (And we all know that the first person doesn’t always have the best contributions.) For this reason it can be very helpful if everyone silently writes their own notes before sharing. Doing this also provides time for your reactions to percolate and mature.
4. Do not design Don’t forget that your job at this point is not to come up with solutions. It is to provide a constructive evaluation of the solution represented by the idea model you’re considering. You’re saying: this is what I think of the concept in terms of the goals we are trying to achieve. Which brings us to the next point.
5. Always consider the criteria Now look again at your Really Big Idea Critique Pad. It defines what we’re looking to achieve. You can give feedback on each of the variables: C, VP, P and OCC. And you can aggregate this to give a measure of impact, which is defined like this: impact = C x VP And feasibility, which is defined like this: feasibility = P x OCC Of course, you can also provide your general thoughts and justification for each. But in doing so, try to frame your feedback in terms of these criteria that define our goal.
6. Go negative and positive When providing feedback, look for the challenges and the flaws. These are important. But be sure to identify what’s working well in the design so the owner learns this too.
7. Don’t sweat the competition It’s worth pointing out again here that the fact a concept might face competition (or the common reaction that “it’s already been done”) is not a negative. It often validates the problem and opens the door to providing a better solution. Don’t let this shut down an otherwise good critique.
B) Designing Only once the critique is finished should you start designing. There are lots of different kinds of design sessions. Today we’re going to look at designing the idea model using the Super Hunch Sketch Pad or the Really Big Idea Sketch Pad. And here are the rules.
1. Change the variables To make the concept more impactful or more feasible (or both), can you suggest changes to any of the following? 1) 2) 3) 4) 5)
The people on the team (P) What they are offering (O) Who they are offering it to (C) Why that person cares (VP) Their core competencies (CC)
2. Only consider the variables Focus on the question of WHAT? – not on WHO ELSE? and HOW? There’s a lot to talk about when it comes to a new venture. (A very lot, such as competition, revenue models, and supply channels, just to name a few.) But all of those are distractions from our task of changing the variables listed above in order to design a highly impactful and highly feasible new venture model. It’ll be the facilitator’s job to keep the focus here and capture everything else that comes up for future iterations.
3. Remember your role(s) In the end, the owner of the design is responsible for making it great. You’re just here to help provide ideas. The other biggest thing you can do is encourage them to “put the marshmallow” on top as often as possible.
C) Repeating & going deeper You should repeat the critique and design steps provided above until you meet the design goals. We’ll also look at strengthening the idea model as we go, through the use of three tools: • • •
The Value Proposition Messaging Doodler The Value Curve Doodler The Customer Scenario Doodler