A billion-dollar idea?

By Nathan Furr via inc.com/nathan-furr/   Article

How to Know If You Have a Billion-Dollar Idea

“… the right test to know if you are onto something big is quite simple: it is the difference between what you thought would be the result and what you actually observed. That difference, whether things turned out better or worse than you thought, is the ultimate test and that delta is where the real learning and the real insight occurs. …

First, you need to explicitly define your guess–a hypothesis about what you think is true–and your guess about the outcome of a simple experiment to test your hypothesis. It is critical that you write it down. Both the hypothesis and your guess about the outcome. … Writing down your hypothesis creates a structured statement about the opportunity that you can then test. Writing down how you will measure it and what you think will be the outcome creates the opportunity for learning.

Then structure a simple, low cost experiment that you could conduct in the next few days and observe what the outcome is. Whether the results are higher or lower than expected isn’t what is most important. Rather, the difference between your expectations and the result is the real learning about whether you are on to a big idea and the opportunity to ask a question of yourself: ‘how did the world turn out to be different than what I expected and what have I learned?’ …

As an example, if you believe there could be a big opportunity for a new medical device, ask yourself, what is your most critical hypothesis, the one that could kill your business, and how would you test and then measure that in the next few days? If for example you were developing a new device for chiropractors, the most critical assumption may be that chiropractors actually perform procedures for which they want your device. You should write down this hypothesis and your guess about how many chiropractors would respond (when asked) that they are highly interested in buying such a device. Then call 20 chiropractors and see what happens. Whether all 20 respond with overwhelming enthusiasm or no one responds, the delta between what you thought would happen and what happened will be the doorway into whether you are on to something really big! It sound simple but it is the hinge on which successful opportunity discovery swings.”

 

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