Validating an Idea. The unmet needs.

August 4, 2021

As you have read in the previous articles, it’s fundamental to have a roasted validation process to launch a successful startup.

Today will reveal the third method to validate your idea, a process designed by Francesco Cardoletti.

If you haven't read the first two articles about idea validation, you can easily find them here:

On top of these two articles, we have written many others related to Startup Studios. Check them out:

Let’s start by introducing Francesco Cardoletti

Before diving into the topic, you are wondering, who is Francesco Cardoletti? Why did we choose to disclose his method?

Francesco Cardoletti is a Venture-Builder/Startup expert and Co-Founder/CEO of PawSquad (acquired by IVC Evidensia). He collaborates with companies such as Citi Group and Unilever Foundry (Unilever), where he works with the best scaleups and startups in the world to launch disruptive innovation on a global scale.

Once the introductions are done, let's get right into the heart of the process.

How to validate an idea: the crucial role of the " unmet need"

A fundamental assumption is that most people that launch an idea/company recognize the weaknesses too late (i.e., when the company runs out of money and fails). Why does this happen? Because people too often don't analyze their idea before starting, and they realize what didn't work only when the game is over.

Focus on the weaknesses of your idea as soon as possible. You must dig as deep as you can, unpack the complexity, and immediately address the pain points.

You have to remember the following priorities, do not try to change them!

  1. Problem
  2. Solution
  3. Value Proposition
  4. MVP/Product
  5. Launch

As you see, the launch and the product are the very last steps on which you should focus, not the first ones! The problem and the solutions have to come first to allow an idea to become a successful company.

The "problem" must be the starting point of the entire validation process.
An idea must always arise from a problem of a potential customer that values a possible solution. In other words, even before coming up with a solution, you have to identify the problem and be sure that this problem is shared with a possible target audience. If there is no problem, there is no need for a solution, so there is no space for a company. Quite simple.

How do you find these problems/needs? You have to scout and do your digging to get a clear overview of the unmet problems/needs.
Sometimes the problem is identified by looking at the daily issues and then understanding if a population segment has the same problem.
To get the overview, you can use different tools (interviews, statistical data, socio-demographic articles, research of private and public institutes) to have data of what a given segment of the population needs to create something that has powerful feedback.

The importance of understanding the target/customer

Identifying the exact problem/need is not enough. We must identify "who" has that need/problem since they will be your target audience. When you get to this issue, the Customer Discovery starts.

The Customer Discovery is critical to get to know your target customers and to understand better how they think, how they talk, where they are (e.g., social network), what values they have, what ideals they pursue, what is their income and spending capacity; all these elements will be essential to tailor a product to your target.

Then you have to ask yourself one more question: is my target audience aware of the problem? It sounds like a foolish question, but not always your target is conscious of the pain.

How can you get to know your target audience? There are many ways and no fixed rules, but interviews are an excellent way.

You can get some feedback, understand the sentiment of your audience, and then improve what you're building.

Don’t overload yourself with information during this step, avoid too many interviews, and don't collect too much data.
Create a sample of people to be interviewed; overthinking is never healthy, you might end up stuck.
The "Done is better than Perfect" rule is a mantra you must follow.

Additional questions to be answered

You must start thinking about the so-called "Main Risk Assumptions”. Those are assumptions that could make your idea collapse.

Here are the questions:

  1. Do potential adopters actively seek a solution to the identified problem?
  2. Is it sustainable to find early adopters?
  3. Are they willing to pay for my solution?
  4. Are we truly able to solve the problem?
  5. Once we have built a product, are we able to scale it?

Unlike the other two methods, there is no perfect time frame to box the process. However, always keep in mind: learn as much as possible in the shortest time.
The concept of lean validation is based on fast learning; the purpose of testing is to learn and eliminate business risk as quickly as possible.

What's next?

What will be the next article?

We will discover together the method by Brent Freeman for idea validation. Stay tuned.

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