Why you need to iterate while you innovate

Why you need to iterate while you innovate

Iteration is a crucial part of any innovation process – that is if you want to see any form of success in your innovation initiatives.

One way you could ensure that iteration is a core part of your innovation process is by using the Build Measure Learn methodology. It puts customer feedback and partnership at the center of the innovation process. 

The framework dictates that innovators build a product prototype, test it out with potential customers, and apply what they learned in the tests in the next build cycle. This cycle repeats, even after a product is deemed market ready.

Why is that?

The market is always changing which means what customers need and want are shifting constantly. Companies will have to constantly touch base with their customers and adapt their products and services accordingly to keep up with the times. Furthermore, companies will have to also ensure that their newly developed products and services fulfill the original reason that pushed them to develop them in the first place.

The Build Measure Learn Loop helps you build impactful innovations successfully

The Build Measure Learn Loop. Illustration by JD Toribio.

While the methodology looks simple, there is actually a lot that goes into each of the 3 steps. Here’s a simplistic overview of each step:

1. Build

As the name suggests, the ultimate goal of the Build stage is to create a minimum viable product (MVP) that you’ll be able to test with potential customers.

First, you’ll need to start with a problem. It must be a problem that the market wants to be solved and that your company has the capability of solving. You can identify this through observation, initial customer interviews and surveys. 

An example problem we’ll use for this article is frequently going over budget.

Next, you’ll need ideas for a solution that can solve the identified problem and come up with a hypothesis you want to test. For example, one solution for the problem above is a budget-tracking app so our hypothesis could be “businesses that frequently go over budget can significantly reduce their expenses through a budget-tracking app.”

Now, design the solution, in this case, a budget-tracking app, and build an MVP for it. Once the MVP is built, you can go over to the next stage.

2. Measure

For this stage, you’ll need to test the MVP with potential customers. Since the example we’re using here is a solution for businesses to keep better track of their expenses, we could invite companies to test out the solution.

You’ll need to collect feedback from the customer test group once they’re done testing out the product. Quality feedback is crucial in the Build Measure Learn methodology as it is the primary input used at the start of the cycle. Feedback is what guides the entire process.

One of the best ways to do this is by conducting both a survey and interviews. Interviews will allow you to draw more insights from the quantitative feedback the test group submitted in the survey.

Look out for what the test customers liked, so you could improve them, and what they disliked, so you could fix them in future iterations of your product.

Let’s say our test group gave low scores on the budget tracker’s user interface and user experience. For example, some of the businesses that tested the app said that it loaded slowly and that it was difficult to make sense of the information it provided.

These will be your primary inputs for the next stage.

3. Learn

Under the Learn stage, you’ll draw insights from the feedback gained in the previous stage and turn them into action points. 

These action points are generally: add, keep, or delete. 

Based on the feedback, you may decide that will add new features to your product or service because customers stated they want more. This may also mean that you want to improve certain existing features because the customers demand them.

There may also be features you want to keep and maintain on your product. And lastly, there will be some you’d want to remove because customers didn’t need or want the features in the first place, thus they just clutter up your product.

Based on the example feedback on the budget-tracking app, some changes are clearly needed. The team may decide to lessen the high-quality graphics on the app to improve loading times and simplify data presentation to help customers understand the data better.

4. Build again

Now, you’re ready to build the next iteration of your product. You’ll take the lessons and action points you generated in the previous Learn step and build a better MVP.

You’ll then bring the MVP through the entire process again. And then you’ll repeat the entire process again and again.

This is a cycle that doesn’t end, even after you fully launch the product because there is always room for improvement. You’ll always get customer feedback, which you’ll definitely want to take note of in order to provide them with a product that best solves their problems.

Just remember that this isn’t the only methodology you should be using while you innovate. The Build Measure Learn loop is best used alongside other innovation tools and methodologies.

Innovate better and stronger with Embiggen

Equip your innovators with the tools, frameworks, and skills they need to produce impactful innovations for your corporation.

The Embiggen Innovation Insitute (EII) is Embiggen’s innovation learning arm that is making world-class innovation training and education more accessible to Filipinos.

It is the go-to firm for corporate innovation strategy and tactics learning and development firm for top companies in the country and has trained over 1,000 innovators in innovation and innovation management. 

It is the exclusive Certified Training Partner in the Philippines of the Global Innovation Management Institute (GIMI), the worldwide innovation standard certification board based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.A. GIMI has trained over 10,000 innovators including those from Fortune 500 companies.

EII is also a partner of the prestigious Asian Institute of Management (AIM). Together, they co-designed and co-deliver the first corporate innovation and digital leadership executive education program in the Philippines, the Post Graduate Diploma in Corporate Innovation & Digital Leadership.

Learn more about the work that EII does here.