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Ideation Vs. Validation Vs. Execution

If you want to build a great solution, where do you start? In the beginning, everything can be very exciting and full of a lot of potentials. You know you’ve thought of a great idea that people will love, easily accept, and use your solution, but now, you want to get started on it, but you’re a bit confused as to where to start. In today’s lecture, we will look into the pros and cons of the ideation, validation, and execution process.


Ideation is the process of generating ideas. In the beginning, every project starts with a concept. Ideation goes beyond this. It is the process that draws you into thinking about all of the various problems that your idea can solve. In ideation, you ponder about all of the additional product features you could add and all of the different techniques you could use to market your solution. The problem with ideation is that it is a creative process and not a pragmatic one. Every time that you think up a new idea, you can feel a sense of progress. This is an illusion of progress. Everyone has brilliant ideas, so unless you’re a high-level consultant, your ideas have no significant value. Note that ideation is different from iteration.


Validation is a very important process. It is the process of verifying that your prospective customers would love and use your solution. In theory, the process is quite simple. All you have to do is to talk with people that you think would use your solution. Then ask yourself, “What are their initial reactions?” “What questions did they ask you?” The first thing you need to do is to remove your ego from the entire process so that if you receive negative feedback, you understand that you have received valuable feedback. The key is not to be defensive about your idea or solution. At this stage, the best thing someone can offer you is their honest opinion. The difficulties in gathering feedback at the validation stage are the problem is identifying people who would be potential customers and the problem of gathering enough feedback to determine whether or not to pursue your idea or not.


Execution in this case is the development process. This is when you’re building an MVP of your product. The key thing is that you’re building around the core concept of your idea and not adding any miscellaneous features, often known as “launch procrastination” or “feature creep.” So, the question is: “Where do you start?” and here’s how to:
1. Come up with the core concept of your idea.
2. Talk with 5 to 10 trusted advisors or potential customers.
3. If the feedback is mostly skeptical, keep the idea for a much later time.
4. If the feedback is mostly positive, start building your solution. If you don’t have the technical expertise to build your product, find a technical co-founder to help you with this. Finding a technical co-founder isn’t an easy task to do, but it’s better than spending so much money on hiring a developer that doesn’t believe in your project to build your product for you.
5. In the building process, develop ideas and talk with as many potential customers as possible. You will only have a good idea about what you’re building while you’re building it. So, if potential customers have a common request, endeavor to add it as a requirement for your MVP. Also, ensure that you recruit these people as your beta users.
6. Launch a landing page with your beta product. This allows interested customers to start using your product immediately. This is the best validation you can have, so treat these people well, and never charge them for using your product early enough, regardless of the future price points.
7. Once you have beta users, speak with them as often as possible. What do they believe is missing? Are there bugs to be fixed? Is there any confusion keeping them from getting started?
8. Use the feedback gathered to develop a better user onboarding process. Onboarding is something you do during beta before you launch.
9. Once you feel good about your beta product, it’s safe to launch it to the public. While you should be doing some basic marketing before your product launch, now is when you should concentrate on marketing. Don’t try to develop and market at the same time, unless you have a team that is big enough to effectively do that.

Go to Lecture 28 →