... where visionaries, game changers, and challengers discuss business models
Hello all, I am going to Kenya on September 14th for 3 months to pilot a new social enterprise that I recently founded called KenyaWorks - www.kenyaworks.org.uk. Our team will be working with groups of unemployed young Kenyan men and women to co-design profitable businesses to create jobs and reduce poverty. Our aim is to empower and give confidence to local people to begin analysing their surroundings and considering what businesses might be successful.
Obviously Business Model Generation will play an important role in our teaching. But if anyone in this forum has ideas for games to play, tasks to do, techniques to teach and ways to approach the design process please comment here and get involved. We would really like to crowdsource a lot of the what we teach and learn from others vastly more experienced than us... (we're 24, 26 & 26 so we're very willing to listen!) Many Thanks
Your question over eliminate and reduce. Don't antiscipate but simply ask, as example. "In your idea is there areas you would like to reduce that might give a new business opportunity?" "Is there something you feel could be eliminated completely by thinking about the issue differently?" , This is a dialogue around the four to explore options, to challenge existing (new) thinking. Does that help?. There are plenty of different opportunities to reduce and eliminate, depends on the issue, concept, idea at hand.
Take software for example, there is plenty of 'over spec' could be reduced for lowering the cost of the software to make it more affordable in developing countries, there is also software preloaded that you would want to eliminate as it has no practical value in certain places.
Finally de Bono, just reflect on the three more than the six, once you have explained and established the six hats to people who might ot know it.
Have you looked at this site
A meeting for innovators held in Kenya last year covering issues for Africa and bringing together different thinkers, doers etc. Take a look, helpful perhaps?
So I've been thinking about this topic for some time now and thought I'd pose some questions that I've been considering. I think I have some answers but I'd be interested to know what the community thinks first.
1) What's the best way to get a group to come up with business ideas. Do you focus on people's interests/passions and get them to think about what they like? Or do you spend a lot of time observing the local community and looking for problems? Do you ask the group to go around talking to lots of people and sourcing ideas from others? Or maybe something else or a combination of all these?
2) Before you get people thinking about a business idea do you have to make them aware of what a great idea entails? From Steve Blank I think I'm inclined to say a great business idea is something that solves a problem that people really have and are willing to pay for and that you (as a group can deliver). Do people agree with this and do they think it's necessary to go through this stage and understand what a business must comprise before getting the group to come up with ideas?
3) Finally, is there a way to tie together Steve Blank's work on Customer Development with the IDEO/D.School design thinking school of thought. I know Alex Osterwalder has been working with Steve to combine the BMG with Steve's approach and the course that Steve teaches on this ,the Lean Startup, is really great http://steveblank.com/category/lean-launchpad/ check it out if you haven't. So my question is can you combine these approaches/ how can you do it/ are they already very similar??
As I said, I have some thoughts but maybe someone else would like to give it a go first...
Thanks all for your help!
Answers (where I can)
your question 1- all of them, whatever gets the community you are working with engaged- to listen, to ask, to observe, to debate/ discuss- all of course will work. It depends but the culture of Kenyans is to debate within communities, they certainly do get passionate for change and they are very curious so all are possible solutions
your question 2- great ideas need to be 'grounded' in their reality not in some far away place called Silicon Valley, unless they are business people. Are you solving social problems by starting new businesses- micro ones or what. I'd look at the social work going on in and around Africa and India and relate this more, than going the Steve Blank route- you need to look for ideas they can 'see' have meaning to THEIR circumstances would be my starting point then care to dream- them more Steve Blank and the 'harder' aspects of VC managing, where he comes from. You might find a couple of video's to help you to get some common ground in the beginning.
Question 3- The IDEO/D School design, what specifically are you referring too. The concept that Steve is pushing of a scorecard use for the BMG has some milestone value, that might be good (dislike the use of scorecard for BMG by the way). Also lean start ups need being applicable to small 'micro' start ups, ones that Steve works on are (often) technology related, higher education parties, schooled in Silicon Valley and University thinking, is this the right reference point in Kenya, surely you have others less business, business, results, results, push push style.
Thanks Paul, these are my initial thoughts.
For question 1 I'd agree all of them, but I've been trying to think how to structure the process. If you say to the group, give me lots of ideas they might struggle because the question isn't defined enough.The problem is too broad.
Firstly we're keen on having an ideas wall where all ideas are put. We'll set a quota - say 100 ideas by the end of the week to focus initially on quality and not quantity.
We'll spend some time thinking about problems in the community and emphasise that all problems are opportunities. This will involve some observation and ethnographic work.
Then we might spend some time talking about interests and passions. Thinking about what they would like to do more. And then some time on resources. What can they do, what skills do they have and could a business come out of these.
I also like the idea of the 2x2 grid that you suggested. This could be used to help structure these debates.Does this seem sensible to you?
For questions 2 & 3 I accept that with Steve's work you have to be careful because he's focusing on Silicon Valley and the technology sector. But I think his basic premise is extremely valuable - that all your assumptions are basically guesses! Get out of the building as early as possible and talk to your potential customers and make sure that you are trying to solve a problem (say poor security, transport in Kenya etc.) that they agree is a problem and would be willing to pay for. So I think ideas being grounded in reality is exactly the point that Steve is making and exactly the route that we'd like to follow.
I mentioned IDEO and the D School & BMG because I think these different places/fields of thought are arriving at the same point. That businesses are designed for people and you have to place people at the centre. So IDEO has the idea of Human Centred Design and Alex & Steve are teaming up to do expand Customer Development. All of this focuses on designing around your customers. Again I think this philosophy fits anywhere in the world.