Faster, informed, and de-risked decisions

Our inception supports companies in gathering the evidence they need to de-risk their innovation decisions and accelerate their go-to-market.

We provide a clear process, tooling, and support to help teams test their key assumptions and make a clear roadmap for experimentation and market entry.

What is inception?

Inception is the process of gathering further evidence on a business case to make faster, more informed, and de-risked decisions, ensuring clear milestones and deliverables. Inception is typically a 3–4 month process taking place after business case pitches (see business case pitch deck) and before large scale experimentation.

During inception, we help teams collect evidence to test critical assumptions about the market (e.g., voice-of-customer, market potential, …), the business model (e.g., value chain, pricing, …), and technology (solution details, viability, investment, …). For each area, innovators define a set of hypotheses which they test during the inception phase. Management is continuously involved to confirm the hypotheses and provide feedback to teams. At the end of the inception phase, teams present an updated business case pitch. Inception allows companies to test key assumptions early, saving costs and providing a clear direction for the path to market.

What does the inception process look like?

Below we showcase the key steps in the inception process. On top of the weekly touchpoint with the teams and mentors, the main milestones include (1) building the hypothesis action cards with each team, (2) agreement of the hypotheses by the decision committee, (3) informing the decision committee of the first results and gathering feedback, (4) final pitch followed by a decision meeting.

We start the process by developing a set of hypotheses into action cards, which aim to test the most critical assumptions in our business case. The hypothesis action card includes:

  • The underlying hypotheses that support the business case. What needs to hold (in terms of market or technology, for instance), for the idea to work and succeed?
  • What type of experiments or tests can we run that allow us to verify if the hypothesis holds (i.e., we are right) or needs to be rejected (i.e., our assumption was wrong)?
  • What metrics or indicators are we going to gather/measure to test our hypotheses?
  • When do we consider that the hypothesis holds (i.e., we are right) or needs to be rejected? What are the criteria?

Great cards are concrete and measurable. For example, rather than testing if “there will be customer interest for our solution”, we test whether “X number of companies intend to trial our solution”. The hypotheses cards also ensure that we get management agreement early on whether these are the key elements to test.

Once management agrees with the hypotheses, we continue with our testing. Our action tables and flash reports guide our testing, and we meet with the team and mentors weekly to discuss progress and next steps. In this phase we support the teams in several ways:

  • Building interview scripts and supporting voice of customer interviews
  • Market research on competition, market sizing, business model, …
  • Keep the momentum through weekly flash reports and action registers
  • Aligning with management on progress (often across several teams in inception) and gathering feedback
  • Developing intermediate results and final pitches

In the final step, teams present a business case and go-to-market plan to management. We facilitate the meeting which leads to a go/no-go decision and commitment of further funds. Typically, the next phase entails experimentation with selected customers, with the goal of quickly scaling the idea and bringing it to market.

Benefits of inception

  • Clear process and tooling to test key assumptions
  • Support for innovation teams on project management and market research
  • Continuous alignment with management to ensure we work on the right things
  • De-risking investment by validating key assumptions
  • Business case with a clear roadmap to market (including timing, investment requirements, and market potential)

We see, over and over again, tangible results from our inception process that companies struggle to achieve on their own without a clear process, tooling, and support.

Get in touch to learn more and how we can personalize the inception process to your needs.