Iterate early and often? Absolutely. But each version change to your product (or products) has the potential to move you further and further from your brand’s core. Eventually your brand looks like a copy of a copy of a…well, you understand. Your messages lose resolution. Your mission lacks clarity.
How do you keep that from happening? We like to use Innovation Games(r) to solve problems, and better yet, to prevent them. In the case of the problem we’re considering today, our clients love it when we play Prune the Product Tree to work through their product roadmap or brand strategy.
Imagine the trunk of the tree is your brand. This is your core. Your heart. Your promise. The thing that supports everything else you do. It should be immutable and unchanging. As you add leaves, flowers, or fruit…make sure they fit with your trunk. If your company is a birch tree, you aren’t going to turn out any apples. Once you’ve mapped out your “where’s next?”, think about the roots of your tree. They’re all the systems and structure that keep you upright, supporting your trunk and enabling everything you do. If your root system is insufficient, the leaves and blossoms will wither…and eventually even the trunk will succumb.
This simple but powerful metaphor is one of the most useful games in our toolkit – it’s helped us help many of our clients stay true to their purpose, and it can help you, too.
Spring is gradually sneaking up on the east coast of Canada. One day it’s 10°C and the next it’s snow flurries. It’s interesting trying to guess what’s coming around the corner.
We are, at Panoptika Central, currently inundated with greenery. There’s a new garden to be planted and we don’t know what will grow, so we’re trying many different things.
It’s a bit like the start-ups we’ve been following this year through the Dalhousie Faculty of Management. They are working with an approach we’ve talked about before, the lean canvas. The principal being that you have an idea, or several; you look at the 9 key dimensions fleshing out your idea; you formulate hypotheses to test your assumptions; and then you test your hypotheses, either validating them, or invalidating them. Either way, you end up knowing more about your idea and its potential utility.
Then your idea lives or dies by real world conditions, but not after you’ve sunk everything into it!
To use our garden analogy, we could have invested our entire budget into planting potatoes. We like potatoes; they grow them in Nova Scotia; but will they grow in our garden? So instead, we have invested in a series of small tests to see what will be the most successful. Then, having facts to go on, we can pivot in the coming years into things we can grow successfully and that we like.
Maybe we should write a book…Lean Canvas GardeningJ
Here’s to making your personal garden (or idea) grow successfully!