December, 2014. Winter in Kuwait is breathtaking. The weather is beautiful. We spend more time outdoors. We drive different. We smile more often, and we generally become more pleasant beings. It was the perfect time to get excited about starting a new business. And that’s what I and three of my friends set out to do on a pleasant winter evening.
“Where are we meeting?”
“How about the—“
“Ooh, you guys want to meet up at The Foundry?”
Our entrepreneurial juices were flowing. We were definitely onto something. And we’ve got our Business Model Canvas. What could possibly go wrong? We exchanged pleasantries and engaged in small talk. Everyone got comfortable over some pressed sandwiches.
Plates out of the way.
Let’s get to it.
We wanted to design service packages for end customers. We’d work as middlemen between plumbers, electricians, car wash companies and laundries and the homeowner. The model was simple. You, as a customer, pay a monthly fee to get access to services for a discounted rate since you are bundling. Not to mention the convenience of it, right?
We whipped out our A3 paper. Business Model Canvas staring right back at us in all of its glory. This is how all great businesses start, right? First and foremost, we needed some data. How much cost are we incurring to provide this service? Along with all other information needed to fill up our Business Model Canvas. We split the workload/ research amongst us, as well as the bill, and each set out to collect his part of data. We were to meet a week later.
“This won’t work.”
“Yeah, it won’t.”
Based on the running costs to be incurred in providing these bundled services, we’d have to charge our potential customers in excess of $600 per month. We estimated that customers would be willing to pay anywhere between $150 and $200.
Our promising business has come to a crashing halt, without even having a chance.
As it turns out, many fall into the same mistake. The Business Model Canvas is an excellent tool. It provides a quick snapshot of all the playing parts in any business. However, The Business Model Canvas is used to verify a solution and not an idea. There are numerous ways we could’ve designed the service, but using the BMC narrowed our thinking way too early in the design of the service. An innovative business doesn’t start with the Business Model Canvas. A better alternative/ tool that could be employed early on is The Double Diamond Framework.
The Double Diamond Framework was created by The British Design Council. The process inherently promotes innovative solutions (or at least doesn’t exclude them from the possible outcomes). The Double Diamond framework allows for the verification of the insight, the idea and the prototype of the possible outcomes.
If we were to employ the BMC within the Double Diamond process, it would come at the very end where we are verifying the solution and setting up our key performance indicators/ how we would potentially be measuring the success of the business.
Next time you’ve got your entrepreneurial juices flowing, don’t sap them by employing the right tool at the wrong time. Allow for innovation to come into play by implementing a design-driven framework. Watch the magic happen!