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You have spent weeks describing your interests and capabilities, a problem that concerns you, people who experience frustration from that problem, and the experiences those people have when they use current alternatives. The payoff from your investment in gaining insight and empathy is a clearer understanding of what a better solution looks like. This can focus your creativity and reduce risks associated with pursuing additional startup steps (milestones).

You are in a good position, based on the quality of your creativity, empathy, and evidence, to list attributes and characteristics that might better address your problem and reduce the frustrations of your customers. This DOES NOT mean that it’s time to develop a specific solution. Rather, your task is to list criteria that a novel solution should address in order to create value for your intended customer segment(s). This list explains how to score points with your customers and how to win against competition – sort of like a “rubric” describing how your customer might “grade” new offerings. Without this guide, creative effort are likely to be unfocused and fall victim to confirmation bias (falling in love with and defending your initial idea). Effective entrepreneurs take steps to understand what victory looks like before they start playing the game (and taking risks)!

This assignment borrows an essential method associated with design thinking. You will prepare a “design criteria” document that clearly describes the attributes of a delightful solution. Your document will include descriptions of your goal (what frustrations you will alleviate, jobs-to-be-done you’ll address), the experience/journey that would delight your customer, potential gain-creating and pain relieving features, and physical characteristics and constraints that may affect feasibility and customer adoption. 

Your next assignment, your “pre-totype”, will require you to fully articulate your novel solution and why it’s amazing. Thoughtful work on design criteria will make your next assignment easier and more fun. Obviously, this is the time when you want to fully engage your creativity. I suggest engaging the processes we’re discussing in class by considering different ways you’ll use your available resources (divergent thinking), novel connections among trends, technologies, etc. (associative thinking), and analogies to existing businesses (analogical reasoning, e.g., My idea is like Airbnb, except that it …).

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