Analysis Paralysis…Innovators Move Fast

Added on by Alexander Osterwalder.

Refining your idea too much in the early stages of testing is a trap. Uncertainty and risk is at its maximum when you start out. You can’t reduce uncertainty with analytical thinking, so don’t waste your time perfecting your idea. It’s really about getting out there, searching for evidence, and iterating.

Drawn with my new Moleskin pen. 

Drawn with my new Moleskin pen. 

I love seeing innovation teams get out of the building early to test, validate, and de-risk new business ideas as fast as possible. They get hooked. This contrasts with teams that feel the need to refine their idea immediately and spend a lot of time in workshops analyzing the best possible business model or value proposition. I call it analysis paralysis: teams get trapped in the habit of polish new ideas much too early. What they struggle to understand is the ratio at the very beginning, where you need extremely rough prototypes (i.e. low fidelity) to test, learn, and iterate quickly. Over time, as more evidence is gathered and uncertainty is reduced, the team can move towards more refined prototypes (i.e. high fidelity).

Our friend, and Strategyzer Coach, David J. Bland does a great job articulating the journey in the visual above. When uncertainty is high, low fidelity tests and prototypes help gather early evidence. As time moves on, and uncertainty decreases, you can move to stronger evidence generating prototypes like landing pages or an early Minimum Viable Product (MVP).