Prototyping for Viability

The second lens deals with the viability of the product idea. Business modelling should be a continuous activity throughout the product development process. The best way to integrate the viability lens is to consider it early on. It should not be viewed as an afterthought, which is only added later once the initial product direction has been set. Viability prototyping can be used to validate and refine many of the key assumptions of your product idea upfront, so you can reduce the chances of failing in the market later.

Questions a viability prototype will help to answer:

  • Is there enough “room” in people’s lives for my product, considering that you are almost always competing against existing ways of satisfying a particular need?
  • How does my product stack up against existing products and solutions?
  • Is my product making my users’ and customers’ lives so much better, that they are willing to switch from a different solution to our product?
  • Can I detect early market traction for the current direction of my product?
  • Is there a willingness to pay for my product? Can I get people to put some “skin in the game”? (e.g. pre-payments, pre-orders, sign-ups, valid e-mail addresses, etc.)
  • How long will people use my product? (i.e. gauging their longer-term level of interest)

If you are interested in further diving into the viability perspective of product development you might want to check out the very extensive and well-structured overview on business design by Alen Faljic called “What is Business Design and How Do I Become a Business Designer?”.