Startup Library: Day 3 (Sick in bed edition)

So I missed the third week of Startup Library because of a stupid cold. While all my noble comrades were flocking to Guelph to start a library revolution, I was on my couch watching endless episodes of Community and feeling sorry for myself.

I’m patching this blog post together based largely on materials provided by the workshop organizers which, like the rest of Startup Library, are extremely well put together and thought provoking. I’m trying to work through this stuff mostly for my own benefit, since I need to get caught up for the last session – Week 4, which is tomorrow!

Here are my previous posts from Week 1 and Week 2.

To begin: Here’s a summary of what I missed (via M.J., the brains behind this event):

  • During Workshop 03 we  had a quick review of design thinking
  • Amanda Etches did a great overview of four principles of User Experience. [This makes sense since I do believe she knows a thing or two about UX].
  • After that the groups worked on refining their ideas.
  • There are a few suggested activities in the workbook to guide group discussion. 
  • Groups began working toward their final pitch.

In my absence, my awesome group began the product development process. We are focusing on improving the reference experience through mobile development, and had to hammer out:

– The evaluation of our various solutions. We had lots, all on different points of the “good” and “doable” and “remotely useful” scales. Which paths best consider our users’ needs? Which best meet our goals? Which are feasible and don’t *basically* require a feather from the wing of a flying unicorn to actually get done? 

– Strengthen the desirable, feasible, viable ideas. Make some decisions. There’s a clever little acronym to help push an idea forward from the abstract and crazy to the real and actionable. I love me an acrostic poem, so here’s SCAMPER:
Substitute: What can you substitute? What can you use instead?
Combine: How can you combine parts or purposes?
Adapt: What else is like this? Does the past offer ideas?
Modify: What can you add or subtract? What’s a new twist?
Put to other uses: What other markets might be interested?
Eliminate: What can you omit? What can you sacrifice?
Rearrange: What can you transpose? Are there other patterns?

– Work on prototypes. Yup, like real-live mock-ups and stuff.

– Plan for final presentation, a five minute presentation to all the participants. We were given some key questions to mull over and help guide our pitches:

  1. What problem are you solving?
  2. What is your solution? [Try to explain it clearly in two sentences]
  3. Who is most likely to want this solution? Why? How do you know?
  4. How does your idea work? [What would the user’s experience be like?]
  5. Why does your product matter? [What user “pain point” are you solving?]
  6. Do you have a brand or catchy name for your product idea? What sort of personality should it have?
  7. What are the biggest advantages of your idea?
  8. How could you expand your idea? What future opportunities or “spin-offs” exist if this idea is really successful [Even if this doesn’t go into a pitch, it might be helpful for any follow-up questions].
  9. What are the potential concerns for this idea? How do you plan to overcome them?
  10. How can you “show off” your idea? Can you build a prototype? How about a mock-up? [Visual aids can help communicate your idea better than traditional PowerPoint slides – even if you just have raw sketches]
  11. How will you differentiate yourself in your final presentation? Do you have a good story? What about a product demo?

Lots to work through. I’m not quite sure what awaits us tomorrow, but I’m excited to see what’s come of all this, and to see what the other groups cooked up too.


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