One of the things I see often when I visit prospective clients is the tendency to confuse Feasibility – can we so this – with Desirability – will they buy it. And irrespective of the first thing being important, it’s a huge risk.
When I see it, it usually goes in this format: The client is showing their innovation process of feeling very good about having defined one of the stages as a lenghty period of discovery before the decision to buy or build is finally made. And on the surface it looks really good and promising. But then comes the catch:
More often than not this discovery phase is not about learning about the customers and their needs. It’s almost all about learning about how to make this idea work internally that the client has now become in essence dead set on doing.
Thus what should have become an external exercise becomes an internel one. And potentially deadly at that. All the more so because the premise for thinking and executing this way is an idea that is not being investigated for market fit but being set up for execution – without a real market test first.
It pains me every time I see it. Because on the one hand it shows me that the client is starting to move in the right direction and they have understood you shouldn’t just be building your idea straight off the bat. On the other hand it shows that they haven’t really understood it yet – and have essentially just build a slightly more fuzzy construction phase to precede that one that’s already labelled as such.
It pains me because the risk is that they will fail. And that doing so they will perform the wrong diagnosis. They will think these discovery methods didn’t work where in reality they just never really grasped how to use them properly.