Product Ideation Framework
A framework designed to get to a new product hypothesis faster and with greater accuracy by leveraging market weaknesses, internal strengths, and adjacent possibilities.
Developing a new product idea can be daunting. When the landscape is on open desert, it is easy to get lost or sidetracked. Instead we want to establish guardrails to reduce the desert to a more manageable sandbox.
The Product Ideation Framework is designed to leverage this insight by getting us to a hypothesis about a new product or service at a much more rapid and accurate pace.
This is all about finding a friction point. What experiences are people frustrated with?
An example is the underlying friction that Uber originally targeted- not being able to find a cab or hire car easily, not being able to pick the kind of car you want, and having to negotiate a price or deal with outdated and buggy payment machines. A single, seamless solution could target this pain.
What are you passionate about? What do you fundamentally believe in? What skills do you have right now? What “makers” do you have access to, and what can you bring to the table by combining them?
Make a list of where you or your teams strengths lie. As an example, an Advertising agency might have access to a range of creatives, planners, designers and developers with specific programming skill-sets.
What has become recently possible in the world of technology? What has just recently become available that we can play and experiment with? What trends can we see manifesting?
As an example, as of the writing of this article, Apple just released a phone with Facial Recognition - what innovations could this lead to?
Pulling It All Together
Once you have listed Weaknesses, Strengths and Possibilities, how might we ideate?
Between Market Weakness and the Adjacent Possibility (no. 2 on the diagram), is there something we could be building? What friction could be addressed with something that has just emerged in the market?
Between Internal Strength and Adjacent Possibility (no. 3 on the diagram), what are the opportunities or possibilities? What has just recently emerged that aligns with your avaialble skill sets?
Between Market Weakness and Internal Strength (no. 1 on the diagram), is there currently something that is causing frustrating in the market that you also have a passion for? What could you see yourself investing time and effort in to change, and will this have a bigger impact on the world?
As you work through this, you will start to gravitate towards the centre and create a set of hypotheses (no. 4, the sweet spot in the diagram). This should allow you to develop a list of Minimal Viable Products (MVPs) to target for testing, and begin the product development process.
Author's note, all frameworks are inherently flawed, so apply them wisely. The utility of a framework is always dependent on the individual problem at hand.