Testing hypotheses is only the start of your validation trajectory. Such tests, by themselves, will not help you validate and reduce the risk in your idea. That’s why at MTI² we complement our Hypothesis Action Cards with a simple follow-up card that forces innovators to translate the results of their hypotheses tests into actionable insights.
What is it?
Results Cards have two parts.
The first part of our “Results Cards” are akin to Alex Osterwalder’s Learning Cards (see his recent book Testing Business Ideas (John Wiley and Sons, 2020). The goal of this part of the results cards is to force innovation teams to move beyond their hypotheses and observations and extract insights from the preliminary evidence they gathered.
More specifically, they require innovators to examine the following:
· Recap the underlying business case hypotheses that they decided to test (“we believed that”),
· Indicate what evidence did they gather from the original experiments or tests ran (“we observed”),
· Note down the learnings and insights they extract from these observations (“from that we learned that…”),
· And then discuss which evidence-based decisions and actions will they take.
In the second part of our Results Cards, we extend Alex Osterwalder’s learning cards to add another critical layer to this definition of evidence-based decisions: A roadmap for experimentation.
This second part of our Results Cards looks as follows:
How to make a Results Card?
The key goal of the results card is to help innovators decide on next steps and actions, based on learnings and insights they extract from their hypotheses tests. Given that quite often the results of hypotheses tests are open to interpretation, the best way to extract learnings is to do so in a group.
Shortly after having collected data to test hypotheses, the team should schedule a meeting to discuss the results. It is important to appoint a person to lead the discussion (e.g., team lead or idea champion). If the team is large and conducted many experiments, more than one discussant can be chosen.
The discussion leader then prepares a presentation with the key results without formally noting down conclusions/insights. The discussion leader schedules a meeting and invites a diverse group of people that can give honest and insightful feedback. In this meeting, the discussion leader presents the results and asks others what their conclusions are from the data gathered. This will often lead to debate as different people may interpret the results differently. Such debate should be encouraged as it helps reach richer insights.
Every time the team identifies a “aha” insight (i.e., an important new insight gleaned from their hypotheses tests), the discussion leader notes it down in flipchart, in a (real or virtual) virtual whiteboard, or in (real or virtual) post-it notes to return to these insights later. Once no more insights can be gleaned from the evidence collected, the team that will keep working on the project should decide on a set of decisions and actions, including further and more sophisticated validation steps, or experiments.
This is where the “experimentation roadmap”comes in (the second part of the results cards). At this point, innovators define an experimentation plan that takes evidence gathering to the next level. To do so, we typically ask teams (i) to converge on a realistic but ambitious set of concrete actions to be taken in the experimentation phase, (ii) to assign clear roles (accountability; who?), (iii) and to provide management with an indication of resources needed to successfully complete the experiments proposed (“what is needed?”). Moreover, we ask them to reflect on these questions across six critical dimensions of any business model (see the Figure above):
Results Cards are crucial to ensure that innovators use the evidence they gather in initial hypotheses tests to its fullest potential. They have three key benefits for innovators.
First, they force innovators to clarify what they learned from their initial hypotheses tests. This process of “sensemaking” of the original experiments is critical to ensure efficient progress in the idea.
Second, the insight generation exercise will also highlight what unknowns are still important, which helps ideators to carefully design larger-scale follow-up experiments. The idea of these follow-up experiments is to take idea validation to the next level (e.g., larger samples, more precise tests, etc).
Third, by agreeing on a set of concrete actions to be taken with clear and resources needed, the results cards increase the commitment but also the accountability of the ideators towards de-risking their idea and accelerating its path to market.
Want to get started with our Results Cards yourself? Download our tool here.