Accelerators: A rapid ideation & validation framework from Zone

Phases and outputs of Zone’s rapid ideation and validation framework

Phase 1: Diagnose

Ahead of the engagement, it’s recommended for a one-day workshop to flesh out the client’s knowledge of the problem and scope, then align on the goal of the accelerator. This helps us plan out a suitable multi-disciplinary team. Often, this phase continues beyond the workshop into the first few days of the engagement.

Phase 2: Immersion, design & validation

Immersion

Immersion is all about understanding the current domain. During this phase we perform as-is mapping (experiences, data and technology), research industry standards, and perform competitor analysis. We use a variety of MVEs and focused user research approaches to help us gain deeper knowledge of a topic and validate any assumptions in the current problem definition. We like to collaborate as one team (including client members) in workshops and often use Miro to run sessions.

Design & validation

At this point, the team might be a bit more inward-focused, though, with regular sessions with the client to demonstrate current thinking and progression of ideas. We come up with a range of solutions, which are refined through testing and validation. Although rare, sometimes assumptions can only be validated with testing in the market for a more sustained period. If these occur, we may recommend creating a particular type of MVP (minimum viable product — wizard of oz, concierge, etc.) to validate market desirability before investing in building the new offering. For example, a client wanted to digitise part of their customer journey, but data was pointing to high usage of traditional channels. To help prove the assumption, we suggested using part of the journey on an existing marketing CMS (content management system) site to create an area to measure effectiveness. We want to ensure a longer-term solution is going to provide business value.

Phase 3: Delivery Planning

Coming into this phase, we have validated the problem space and built confidence in the solution through testing with users and technology investigations. Now the focus is on the delivery plan: team sizing and effort, including MVP backlog creation. We ensure that all research assets are finalised, as these are often used to guide the delivery team, and we present back our findings to the client in a final presentation with accompanying deck for them to take away.

Final thoughts…

As you can see, quite a lot is covered in a short amount of time; this makes phase 1 the most important, as that sets the team up for success. Working closely with stakeholders is a very rewarding part of this type of engagement. Clients get to see us in action and understand how we work and what we value as individuals and as an organisation. This helps us form new and rewarding relationships often becoming trusted advisors across a range of projects.

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We write about customer experience, employee experience, design, content & technology to share our knowledge with the wider community.