OUT-OF-CLASS ASSIGNMENTS

WEEKS ONE & TWO: PROBLEM IDENTIFICATION

BNY MELLON

INCUBATION LAB 10-WEEK PROGRAM
1

1. IDENTIFYING THE EXISTING SOLUTIONS
FOCUS
Identify the existing solution(s) that your target customer uses to solve his or her problem.

2. MAPPING THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE PROCESS
FOCUS
Identify the process your target customer goes through to use the existing competitive product or service.

APPLICATION
Determining the existing solutions to the customer’s problem will help in identifying the customer utility gaps and sub-problems of the core problem.

APPLICATION
Determining the customer experience process is an important step in breaking down the core customer problem into its sub-problems.

ASSIGNMENT EXPLANATION
Using the templates, identify the existing direct and indirect competitive solutions and create a competitive profile for two of the solutions: 1. List out the direct and indirect competitive solutions to your product idea. Talk to potential customers to confirm the existing solutions identified. 2. Select two direct and indirect solutions and complete the competitive profile chart. Leverage customer feedback to complete each profile. 3. Talk to at least five (5) potential customers or internal experts to complete the assignment.

ASSIGNMENT EXPLANATION
Select a direct and indirect competitive solution from the previous assignment and map out the customer experience: 1. Outline the process that your target customer experiences in order to use the product or service. 2. Describe the purchase process, the process of using the product, the process of using additional supplements and the disposal (cancellation) of the product. 3. Talk to at least five (5) potential customers to confirm the customer experience you have mapped out.

CONTENT: EXISTING SOLUTION IDENTIFICATION
Source: Incubate Advisors Assignment Link: Template Length: 2 pages

CONTENT: CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE MAP
Source: Incubate Advisors Assignment Link: Template Length: 1 page

3. IDENTIFYING THE CUSTOMER UTILITY GAPS
2

FOCUS
Leverage the customer experience map to identify gaps in the existing solution in order to better understand the sub-problems of the customer.

4. PROBLEM STATEMENT DEVELOPMENT
FOCUS
Develop a problem statement that articulates the problem you are solving and the potential solution.

APPLICATION
Determining the gaps in the existing solution is the last step in the process of breaking down the core customer problem into the sub-problems that your solution(s) should solve.

APPLICATION
A concise problem statement will allow you to communicate your idea in a structured and complete way.

ASSIGNMENT EXPLANATION
Complete a customer utility gap analysis for the two customer experience maps created in the previous assignment. Identify the customer issues related to the direct and indirect existing solutions. Complete the customer utility matrix and discuss your assumptions with at least five (5) customers.

ASSIGNMENT EXPLANATION
Draft your problem statement by identifying the following: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Your target customer The pain of your target customer The existing solution The customer utility gaps The potential solution Value proposition from the solution

CONTENT: CUSTOMER UTILITY MATRIX
Source: Incubate Advisors Assignment Link: Template Length: 1 page

Test your problem statement with at least five (5) potential customers. Try to identify which parts of the problem statement resonate with the target customer.

CONTENT: PROBLEM STATEMENT TEMPLATE
Source: Incubate Advisors Assignment Link: Template Length: 1 page

3

5. THE REAL SECRET TO STARTUP SUCCESS
FOCUS
The journey of the entrepreneur is about iterating on the idea as quickly as possible until product market fit is achieved.

6. THE INNOVATOR’S DNA
FOCUS
Discuss the five “discovery skills” that separate true innovators from everyone else.

APPLICATION APPLICATION
This article provides additional context for the concepts that are discussed in the Session 1 workshop. This article provides additional context for the importance of experimentation and challenging assumptions.

ASSIGNMENT EXPLANATION ASSIGNMENT EXPLANATION
Excerpt from article: “The more informed debates about startup success tend to focus on three factors – product vs. market vs. team. And since I was pretty familiar with these discussions, I was thinking that just this once I might already know what Dr. Christensen was going to say. Instead, as usual, he said something far more interesting. His insight was that the startups that succeed are simply those that have enough money left over to try their second idea.” Excerpt from article: “As innovators actively engage in the discovery skills, they become defined by them. They grow increasingly confident of their creative abilities. For A.G. Lafley, innovation is the central job of every leader, regardless of the place he or she occupies on the organizational chart.”

CONTENT: THE INNOVATOR’S DNA
Source: Harvard Business Review Assignment Link: PDF & Link http://uncw.edu/studentaffairs/pdc/document s/HBR-InnovatorsDNA.pdf Length: 7 pages

CONTENT: THE REAL SECRET TO STARTUP SUCCESS
Source: The Smart Fast Startup Blog Assignment Link: http://bit.ly/kS5Mp9

4

7. DEALING WITH COMPETITION
FOCUS
Structured competitive competition, competition compete. process for developing a analysis by identifying the analyzing and comparing the and finding opportunities to

8. DEVELOPING A PROBLEM TREE
FOCUS
Detailing step-by-step guide to constructing a problem tree and translating the problem tree into solutions.

APPLICATION APPLICATION
This presentation provides supporting information for the development of the competitive analysis in the prior assignment. This presentation provides a framework for breaking down a core problem into subproblems by constructing a problem tree.

ASSIGNMENT EXPLANATION ASSIGNMENT EXPLANATION
The framework discussed in the presentation is based on work from marketing experts Kotler and Keller. They detail the step-by-step process for developing a competitive analysis. To deal with competition, you must first identify who they are, analyze and compare them, and create a strategy to compete. There is often more than one cause to a problem, and you may not be able to overcome them all, so it is important to know if this will impact your project. A problem tree identifies the context in which an intervention is to occur, and starts to reveal the complexity of the problem.

CONTENT: THE INNOVATOR’S DNA
Source: Evaluation Toolbox Assignment Link: PowerPoint PDF Length: 23 pages

CONTENT: DEALING COMPETITION
Source: Kotler and Keller Assignment Link: PDF & http://slidesha.re/1fccmOo Length: 20 pages

WITH

THE

5

9. BUYER UTILITY MAP
FOCUS
The Buyer Utility Map helps managers understand the core utility of existing solutions and the potential gaps that might be inherent in the customer experience.

10. FIVE SOURCES OF STARTUP IDEAS
FOCUS
By understanding the five sources of new ideas, it will become easier to quickly filter out bad ideas and focus on developing good ideas.

APPLICATION
This presentation provides a framework for identifying the customer experience and the core utility of a product.

APPLICATION
This article provides supplemental content on the formation and development of an initial product idea.

ASSIGNMENT EXPLANATION
The buyer utility map is a tool developed by professors at the elite business school INSEAD, which helps to identify which business ideas have real commercial potential. Along with pricing and the business model, utility proposition is one of the pillars of an idea’s commercial potential (Kim & Mauborgne, 2000). The buyer utility map can be used to create exceptional utility with new products and services or by innovating existing products and services.

ASSIGNMENT EXPLANATION
Daniel Gulati, a tech entrepreneur based in New York and coauthor of the book Passion & Purpose: Stories from the Best and Brightest Young Business Leaders, spent several months investigating exactly where successful founders got their revelations. In his survey and interviews of over 50 entrepreneurs at three different stages (prefunding, growth, and acquired/gone public), he found that 90% of ideas came from five core areas.

CONTENT: BUYER UTILITY MAP
Source: The Idea Factory Assignment Link: PDF & http://slidesha.re/1qjM157 Length: 23 pages

CONTENT: FIVE STARTUP IDEAS

SOURCES

OF

Source: HBR Blog Network Assignment Link: http://bit.ly/1hYxrwb

6

ASSIGNMENT 1 TEMPLATE
Existing Competitive Solutions
Product Description

Customer Description

Direct Competitive Solution

Indirect Competitive Solution

7

ASSIGNMENT 1 TEMPLATE
Competitive Profile
Direct Competitor
Existing Solution 1: Existing Solution 2:

Indirect Competitor
Existing Solution 1: Existing Solution 2:

Product Description:

Primary Target Customer:

Primary Product Objective:

Why do customers use the product?

What do customers like about the product? What do customers dislike about the product? What is the product’s competitive advantage? What are three (3) assumptions that you have about the competitive product?

Total Number of Customers Interviewed:

8

ASSIGNMENT 2 TEMPLATE
Customer Experience Map

Direct Competitive Solution:
Purchase Delivery Use Supplements Maintenance Disposal

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

Indirect Competitive Solution:
Purchase Delivery Use Supplements Maintenance Disposal

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

Total Number of Customers Interviewed:

9

ASSIGNMENT 3 TEMPLATE
Customer Utility Gaps Customer Experience Cycle
Purchase Delivery Use Supplements Maintenance Disposal

Customer Productivity

Simplicity

Convenience

Risk

Fun & Image

Costs

Total Number of Customers Interviewed:

10

ASSIGNMENT 4 TEMPLATE
Problem Statement
Problem Statement Instructions:
Draft your problem statement below. Identify the various parts of the problems statement by coloring each section (highlight or colored font) with the colors listed below: Target Customer – Green Existing Solution – Yellow Customer Utility Gap – Blue Product Idea – Purple Value Proposition – Red

Problem Statement

Total Number of Customers Interviewed:

11