My Etch a Sketch broke this morning. I got so excited when I saw that a Mitt Romney aide was using it to frame his political views, now I am despondent and wondering where to turn. Thankfully the good folks and the readers of “Good, Evil and the Things I do” are here to assist me. When my Etch a Sketch was working, I was able to come up with numerous business ideas everyday. As a passionate entrepreneur I know these ideas would work and I invested heavily in every idea I drew. As each idea failed to pay off my cash reserves dwindled and now I must take up a carreer as a strategic marketing consultant. My new employer will benefit from my unique skill set especially the lessons I learned from Etch a Sketch. Here is what I learned:
History and Context are critical to making truthful assumptions toward sound business decisions. Since I was starting fresh every time with my Etch a Sketch I didn’t realize the importance of the aforementioned elements. Lets look at why this is important and build out a business model.
A. History–what motivates you? What is your world view and passion? What experiences can you draw on to become an expert in your field
B. Context–Evaluate the current state of affairs and find the opportunity for your innovation.
C. Inputs–What materials, labor, equipment and other resources do I need to start my venture.
D. Activities–How do I uniquely add value. I have an idea, take my materials and through a “proprietary” process create value for customers and stakeholders.
E. Outputs–What is the finished product I deliver? When I was using my Etch a Sketch, I kept erasing my ideas and never produced anything meaningful.
F. Outcomes–How do I want the world to change? This is a core value of Social Entrepreneurship. If I create a unique program to educate children, what values do I want to instill? Through my
intervention, how will I impact and change people’s lives?
G. Impact–Does my outcome have a measurable metric that shows how I qualitatively and quantitatively made a difference.
Finally the biggest danger with erasing my Etch a Sketch and always changing my views is that it ignored the assumptions I need to make to ensure that my Output, Outcomes and Impact are viable. By using a prototype and testing my idea to reach a proof of concept, I can show that my assumption is true and therefore my innovation will be successful and make a difference. However what do you do in a case where you “build it and they don’t come”? First of all don’t build it. Before you allocate your resources to a project that may or may not be viable, ask people if they will come to the ballpark. If your survey and information gathering indicates they will come, go buy some land and build it.
I would be re-miss without giving a link to the Etch a Sketch clip:
Go out my dear friends and build a sound infrastructure for your venture, but please make sure your assumptions are sound, you seek the truth and material evidence supports your cause.
Until next time, be good and cultivate your community of friends