Some ideas come into the world organically, and they see great success. Companies with these ideas meet customer desires and provide products and services for a large market. Companies like Facebook and Twitter are examples of this. Do people need social media? Not really, but it certainly makes life easier.
Others companies provide something that the world actually needs to become a better place, and although they may undergo a period of difficulty that requires perseverance, they are doing work that will change the world permanently.
Peter Shin, in an article for Medium Corporation, argues that the world needs more startups who are willing to push world-changing ideas into the modern market. There are so many startups that are inevitable, but it’s the ones which aren’t so inevitable – but are equally necessary – which need more support. He refers to these sorts of startups as the “kicking and screaming” variety, as they require much more customer validation to get off the ground.
Or in other words, for it to work, there needs to be believers and early responders, because long-term success lies directly on the other side of customer validation.
To test his theory, Peter and a group of likeminded individuals arranged a weekend-long Hackathon to figure out if startups could tackle the issue of immigration. The idea for this gathering, called Startup Weekend Immigration, was to get Silicon Valley techies interested in a cause through creativity and innovation – things they are naturally drawn to – and use that interest to solve a large-scale problem. The participants weren’t alone in their endeavors, as the group had a notable lineup of speakers, mentors, and judges on site to aid and assist the development process. They also involved domain expert mentors who specialized in development, design, and legal issues.
The 12 teams were instructed to come up with an idea of how to solve the problem of notoriously user-unfriendly nature of immigration processes, and then pitch the idea. Teams were evaluated based on the following 3 equally-weighted criteria: Customer Validation, Product Execution & Design, and Business Model Validation.
Ultimately, the weekend was quite the success, proving that if innovative teams put their minds to solving a problem, the problem will eventually be solved. The trick is just to find those teams who will be willing to put their energy into causes that need solving in ways that will ensure customer validation. Startups need to start finding these real-world problems and working out ways to solve them, especially if that involves a considerable amount of kicking and screaming.
The truth is, once you find these problems that have yet to be solved, and actually solve them, customer validation will almost be a cinch.
Read more at Medium Corporation.
What are the steps you’ve taken to acquire necessary customer validation? Would you consider taking part in a “kicking and screaming” startup process if you knew the finished results would be game-changing?