Learnings from our Startup Design Camp with Batch 8. Part I

After having successfully worked in this format with two batches from Eleven’s portfolio, we ventured into our third adventure – with Batch 8.

This time our Startup Design Camp was condensed in six very intense days, during which the startups managed to learn the design-thinking processes and methodologies by completing a mini design challenge on day one, and working on each team’s personal wicked problem throughout the remaining five days.  

Role-play, immersion, brain writing, journey mapping and the business model canvas (with a design-thinking twist) were some of the tools we applied.. but besides all that, we actually managed to learn a lot from the startups ourselves.

And, of course, what are learnings for, if not to be shared...

We learned that technology shouldn’t only be used to format existing solutions – its potential should be applied to changing the actual process, and making the solution even simpler and easier.

Take for example education – making education digital could be as straightforward (and useless) as turning a book into a .pdf and uploading it to a tablet.. but it could also be as innovative and engaging as creating virtual lessons and new approaches to teaching the material. In other words, you should aim to innovate and not simply transform existing solutions.

 Or take Tickey, for example. After our process and journey work we all realized the value we could add with technology by improving the whole experience for the customers, rather than just duplicating it by using technology. This allows for a lot more innovation and possibilities for value creation.

On another note, we got reminded about the immense importance of always starting with your (probably small) group of early adopters who are your point of least resistance. This is where people will embrace your product and shower you with feedback and ideas. This is your biggest chance to find an easy and effective way in. So, always look for your point of least resistance because they have the least opportunity cost for trying your product.

Together with team ARTery we re-confirmed how majorly important the empathy stage is – and the huge difference between selling and listening. No matter how many times you do it, if you’re not listening, you’re not really getting much value. Next time you go and talk to your (potential) users, try to forget about your product and don’t even bring it up. Instead, try to hear their stories. You’ll be surprised how much you can learn. There is also this thing called Observation. Sometimes you can learn more from observing how customers in small jewelry stores act, what questions they ask, how they are serviced. Actions speak a thousand words and you can be inspired with a myriad of new ideas just by watching.

The girls from Baker Street reminded us of the value of allowing yourself to be stuck. To be sincerely confused but instead of immediately jumping on the first solution that comes to your mind, you let yourself stick around in that un-comfortable zone and explore all the ideas and unexpected solutions that come up. Believe it or not, being stuck for a while is actually a great way to get perfectly unstuck. And the ladies are now happy to know that they are not only in the business of making bread, but in the business of keeping people healthy and showing them that healthy can be tasty as well.

... and we'll end here for now, so all of this can sink in nicely.
Stay tuned for part II of our learnings. We'll happily share them over the next few days.