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How to validate a service concept?

When you have developed a service idea and initial product but you haven't tested it yet.

main tools used

01

main tool used

Value Proposition Canvas

01

Look at the service concept from different perspectives

A service concept may assume different value propositions according to the way the underlying product or technology is turned into a specific service solution for a defined target audience. Explore each of them as they were unique and independent one from the other, envisioning how the overall development of the service could support each specific direction. This helps elicit several potential scenarios for the service strategy and the organizations, to be further evaluated.

tips

Printing out each potential value proposition on a single poster could help discuss benefits and barriers of each direction.

02

main tool used

Recruiting Screener

02

Identify a sample of participants for concept validation

In order to make a decision on the value proposition and strategic direction for the service, beyond considering the market trends and positioning of the competitors, as well as internal forces inside the organizations, there’s the opportunity to test and validate each of the potential value proposition with their possible users. This research activity can bring interesting insights around what the target audience is struggling with, what could be an obstacle on the adoption of the service, how much they are willing to pay for the service benefits, etc.

tips

A sample of 10 to 20 participants is enough for this type of validation - if carefully selected.

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main tool used

Concept Walkthrough

03

Explain step-by-step the options you've in mind

Once you’ve found the right participants for the validation, show them what you have in mind by describing a potential user scenario and presenting parts of the service (e.g. mockup of digital interfaces or other touch-points). If you have multiple scenarios in mind, or different application of the same service idea, take time to explore every direction and learn from the participant reactions. This activity is extremely helpful in developing service for the B2B market (versus commercial products and services), where is often more difficult to understand how the service can be integrated into a bigger workflow, and better support specific type of activities.

tips

Invest some time in clarifying the context of use (before explaining each step) in order to put the participant in the condition of understanding and evaluating the proposed approach.

04

main tool used

Synthesis Wall

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Cluster and analyse the emerging findings

After the round of validation, report what you learnt to the rest of the team. The exploration could be used to better understand the different profiles involved, as well as to build some knowledge around transversal challenges and evolutions faced in that particoular context. Some of the initial directions will emerge as limited or not particoularly interesting, while others will probably have found confirmation and need for further development. Be honest about the results you find: if some bigger barriers that may drive rejection and compromise the success of the service appear, it’s the right moment to raise a flag and even interrupt on-going development processes.

tips

Daily debriefing sessions help shaping the emerging directions on the go, and building the next session on top of the findings coming from the previous one.

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main tool used

User Scenarios

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Develop one or more relevant user scenarios

Based on the outcomes of the research, one or more significant user scenarios may emerge, as a way to consolidate the value proposition and approach identified and co-designed with the participants. Describe how the service will work across all the steps, from distribution to regular use and maintenance, so to turn the initial direction into a tangible opportunity and process, that takes into account everything learnt in the research.

tips

Embed organization goals and strategic perspective at this stage.