So you’ve read about Agile Innovation, and thought to yourself ‘hmm that sounds interesting but where on earth do I start? Well, this mini-series is designed to get you going – it’s a practical guide to some becoming an Agile Product Innovator in a week.
Agile Innovation is a new NPD process, which creates better feedback loops and validation from your potential customers, so the product is successful when it launches. 90% of NPD fails, and Agile Innovation is a proven concept that has been utilised in several sectors (automotive, tech & software) to improve NPD success, and the team at VYPR have adapted the concept for retail and FMCG.
We’re going to make it as practical as we can, something that one individual product developer could do on their own with little external input needed. Each day we’ll introduce something new to work on, and by the end of the week, you’ll have the bones of the Agile Innovation methodology.
Getting ready to become Agile:
One of the key principles of Agile is the idea of ‘success hurdles’. In effect, we need to know what good looks like so we can decide what ideas to focus on, as early in the process as possible. To do that we use a testing approach, a little like we would do in a laboratory. We’re going to take our product ideas (the hypotheses, if we keeping the scientific lab analogy), put them through a testing process to see if our hypotheses are valid, and the ones that pass the experiment we’ll put forward to the next stage, the ones that fail we’ll put to one side (for now).
It’s worth noting at this stage that you’re going to need access to some sort of testing platform. In your early ventures in Agile, you don’t need to spend hundreds of thousands of pounds, far from it. There are free tools available on platforms like Facebook and Google – and these could be great to get you going but these generic survey tools lack any specialist functionality to assess packaging, pricing, sentiment, contextual choices. As you get going into your journey in Agile, and investment in a specialist platform (such as Vypr!) will pay dividends for sure.
Day One – Define your product
Today we’re going to focus purely on product descriptions. Your concepts and ideas are maybe in a disparate state – some will be elaborately thought out. What we need to do is get everything into a consistent position. When we put products into testing we don’t want to artificially favour certain concepts just because they have lots of supporting detail – we need everything to be presented consistently so we don’t introduce bias.
Action: Define your product.
Write a description that contain a product title, and a short description. Imagine you’d just been phoned by Amazon who said they were going to list your product and needed to put it live today. What would you write, bearing in mind you’re limited on characters? Use no more than 50 characters for a product title, and 150 characters for the description. How does your product stand out? Is the definition clear and easy to understand? Develop these definitions for all the product concepts you’ve got, and see what you come up with. You’ll find that forcing a character limit prompts good discipline in terms of copywriting – clean, punchy language that communicates the proposition to the consumer as effectively as can be.
Once you’ve done that we’re ready to move onto benchmarks, which is the focus for Day Two.