Taking a radical turn in the existing strategy or product offerings can seem like risky business for any company, big or small.
However, when a company decides to launch a new digital product or pivot its strategy, they don’t just cross their fingers and hope for the best. There are reliable ways to protect an investment and de-risk a business decision. One of those ways is idea validation. When done right, it brings an array of benefits, but most of all, the confidence that you’ve made the right call.
Lack of idea validation came at a $230b cost for Meta
Meta’s recent jump into the Web 3.0 space has been no surprise. In 2021, the company publicly announced that nearly a third of its workforce was working within augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) projects, preparing for a shift in consumer trends to a digitally immersive world only seen in Sci-Fi movies. The company’s commitment to this shift from advertisements and social networking into the metaverse was indicated by its official name change to Meta.
Unfortunately, the lack of consumer adoption of AR and VR hardware has led to several struggles for Meta. In February 2022, the company’s public shares dropped more than 26% in one day, removing around $230 billion of the company’s value and making for the largest single-day decline in history.
The company’s pending failure to sell its digital products and services has led to dramatic, company-wide layoffs, adding more burden to Meta’s public image. These shortcomings have been accompanied by struggles to navigate new GDPR data regulations and Apple’s limitations on the App Store regarding governance and commission structure for apps developed and deployed by developers for various Meta’s hardware subsidiaries.
A company like Meta certainly has the resources, staff, and tactics in place to research, ideate, test, and iterate new concepts for digital products and services, so why do their efforts so far appear mainly as a failure? Some possibilities are confirmation bias, lack of product fit, and premature technology.
Confirmation bias is dangerous to digital products
Our teams at Infinum often experience confirmation bias firsthand in product workshops with clients. As humans, we tend to search for evidence that validates our own beliefs. It’s often easier to seek out data that supports your belief when you know what to look for, and you tend to only focus on that data. It also feels good to think you’re right. A company like Meta clearly believes that future generations will prefer to consume and communicate information in these virtual environments, but only time will tell.
Our cross-functional teams of designers, strategists, and technologists leverage integrated product discovery workshops, design sprints, and development to ensure that ample research and validation takes place before a company makes any hefty investments or radical changes to its core product or service. Infinum also leverages an agile development process to ensure we’re constantly trying and testing new ideas. Making incorrect hypotheses is inevitable, and testing is a great way to understand if there’s a market for your product.
The discovery phase removes uncertainty
Discovery is a great way to steer the development of your digital product in the right direction, at the same time giving you confidence about its market success. Aligning your product with the needs of actual users beforehand saves you from stress further down the road.
Here are three benefits workshops can bring to your project.
The majority of corporate venture studios and new product development initiatives result in failures. Leveraging an independent design and development company like Infinum enables you to easily scale your commitment to these R&D initiatives. Our teams tend to move much quicker than larger organizations whose corporate bureaucracy hinders speed and agility.
Workshops allow you to de-risk potential product development through a competitor and market analysis, technical feasibility, cost evaluation, and thesis analysis. You don’t have to go down in history as another Google glasses or Nintendo’s virtual boy story.
Workshop sessions are intended to induce creative idea sharing from members who typically have less say in the product development process. In addition, these sessions are fun and fulfilling as they break up the normal work week and jumpstart conversations that might not happen otherwise. Workshop facilitation by our experienced strategists ensures that everyone is participating.
Workshopping promotes cross-functional team collaboration, culture building, and personal efficacy on an employee level.
Stagnation and complacency are often the death of a company, as competitors get to answer the shifting consumer and market demands more quickly and acquire market share. Workshopping can be considered a form of investment that unlocks new opportunities for business creation and growth. It provides a framework for evaluating user pain points and brainstorming new ways to solve them.
The workshopping process deepens your understanding of user psychology and needs.
Innovation without risks is achievable
Taking on a company project or innovation initiative may seem like a daunting endeavor where risk and downsides are more than a possibility.
However, with the right technology partner, you can keep a sharp focus on your business while having professional researchers, strategists, designers, and engineers bring that concept to life at a reduced time and cost.