The Appleton Greene Corporate Training Program (CTP) for Market Validation is provided by Mr. Christie MBA BSc Certified Learning Provider (CLP). Program Specifications: Monthly cost USD$2,500.00; Monthly Workshops 6 hours; Monthly Support 4 hours; Program Duration 24 months; Program orders subject to ongoing availability.
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Mr. Christie, MBA, BSc, is a Certified Learning Provider (CLP) at Appleton Greene. He has experience in marketing, management and human resources. He has achieved a Masters of Business Administration and a BSc in Wildlife Biology. He has industry experience within the following sectors: Life Sciences, Biotechnology, Healthcare, Technology and Telecommunications. His Program is available within the following countries: United States of America, Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom, or more specifically within the following cities: San Francisco CA, Boston MA, Melbourne AU, Toronto ON and London UK. His personal achievements include: Baxter Area Manager-of-the-Year for three consecutive years, doubling revenue in a flat market; restructured Medigas and reduced operating expenses by 25%; became Laidlaw’s third-ranked market in North America with 16.5% RONWA; reduced VSM Medtech manufacturing times from 18 months to eight; and quadrupled revenues while increasing profits 12-fold at Pyng Medical Corp. His service skills incorporate: go-to-market strategy, market validation, market assessment, technology commercialization and marketing strategy.
The mission for the second module of the Market Validation Program (MVP) is to determine what type of market the business is operating in, based on the definitions of market type provided by Steve Blank, and the source of innovation the company intends to exploit. Steve Bank states: “Market type changes everything. Each type of market has very different requirements for success.” We explore the five different market types, including notable examples, and each company then analyzes their market to determine which type best fits their market. Then we look at innovation source.
Innovation source explores where each company’s innovation came from – the back story, the nature of the innovation. We address questions like: are you changing the way the market operates? Or are you bringing a new or repurposed technology to market to solve an unsolved problem?
By providing a simple two-way matrix, with market innovation on the vertical axis and technology innovation on the horizontal axis, each company discovers how innovative they truly are. For example, a patent-pending technology that is highly innovative may have a corresponding high level of market innovation, perhaps in its pricing and channel strategies. Such an innovation typically takes a long time to get to market, costs a lot of money, and has a high degree of risk. In contrast, a “me too” innovation may not be well differentiated, either in terms of technology or market innovation. It may get to market quickly and cheaply, but will have low barriers to competitors who want to copy and compete head-on. By comparison, the highly innovative company has high barriers to competition. We explore actual examples, work with the participant companies to determine where they are domiciled in this innovation matrix, and how they may wish to move to an area that may increase their likelihood of success.
At the end of the day, companies will have clearly defined their market type and their innovation source.
For each participant company:
01. Define their market type and why: departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development. Time Allocated: 1 Month
02. Describe the source of innovation; departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development. Time Allocated: 1 Month
03. Communicate the back story; departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development. Time Allocated: 1 Month
04. Determine their level of technology innovation; departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development. Time Allocated: 1 Month
05. Determine their level of market innovation; departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development. Time Allocated: 1 Month
For all participants as a group:
06. Describe Steve Blank’s market type concept; departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development. Time Allocated: 1 Month
07. Provide examples of each market type: departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development. 1 Month
08. Describe technology innovation: departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development. Time Allocated: 1 Month
09. Describe market innovation: departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development. Time Allocated: 1 Month
10. Provide examples of technology and market innovation: departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development. Time Allocated: 1 Month
11. Plot these on the innovation matrix: departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development. Time Allocated: 1 Month
01. Market Type– once the group has learned the core concept, most participants can hypothesize what their market type is. Then they can share this with the rest of the group, confirm their hypothesis or revise it based on the group discussion and peer feedback.
2. Innovation Source – participants are asked to prepare this as an integral part of their pre-work, and they receive these instructions one month prior to the class session. We also help them through this, one-on-one with the Certified Learning Provider (CLP), with their peer group, and with Appleton Greene (AG) consultant/mentors.
3. Back Story – here too, participants are asked to complete this prior to attending the second module.
4. Level of Technology Innovation – as simple as this concept is, here we find the CLP and other AG personnel are indispensable in helping each participant see their company as it actually is. The peer group is also very helpful in this regard. By applying the core concept, as described by the CLP in the group session, each participant will eventually land on a reasonable approximation of their level of technology innovation.
5. Level of Market Innovation – here too, the principles described above in point #4 apply.
6. Blank’s Market Type Concept – the CLP is responsible for this and is well-read in the concept. Real-world examples are provided and the group is encouraged to participate, through a Socratic method.
7. Market Type Examples – this helps to drive the concept home and reduce possible misunderstandings.
8. Technology Innovation Description – we make this as clear as we can. If a new coffee shop is about to open, using standard off-the-shelf equipment, most participants would agree that this is a low-level technology innovation. Alternatively, if someone has a breakthrough product design, with no direct competitors and very little prior art, with a patent pending, then most people can appreciate this is high-level innovation.
9. Market Innovation Description – completely analogous to point #8. The coffee shop may have an attractive décor and friendly staff, who are empowered to offer courtesy discounts, which differentiates them and gives them a moderate level of market innovation. The breakthrough product design example may be characterized by a pricing model that amortizes up-front equipment costs over time, again a moderate level of market innovation.
10. Innovation Examples – may be imaginary, as above, or out of the known realm of business. For example, Apple is known as an innovator, but they actually are not very innovative technologically. Their real gift is in market innovation. We also weave in to the discussion the levels of innovation for many of the participant companies.
11. Innovation Matrix Plot – this pulls together the innovation material. Each company positions themselves on the Innovation Matrix and they must defend their position to their peers and the CLP. Where each company lands is no panacea – a company in the top right may look highly innovative and unstoppable, but they also have the highest level of risk, in terms of time, money and uncertainty. In contrast, a company in the lower left may not look very innovative, but they also have less risk, less time to market and less cost. For example, an online gaming app may occupy this space on the matrix.
1. Market Type – the first task is for the CLP, or their delegate, to review the course content on market type, illustrating the various types through concept description and by example, including why it is important to know your market type prior to investing too much time and money. The second task is for each company participating in the Program to work the exercise to determine their most-likely market type. The third and final task is to review the participant’s preliminary conclusions with the group, which may in some instances lead to further refinement of the market type for some of the companies.
2. Innovation Source – in the pre-work, participants are asked to prepare for this by describing how they got to their innovative offering. Now we are able to build on this, as in #1, first by reviewing the course content regarding levels of technology and market innovation, describing the concept and illustrating this with examples. Then the participants do the exercise to determine if they have low, medium or high innovation in terms of their technology and their market approach. Again, these decisions are shared with the group and may be revised. Note that although market type is definitive and unchanging, levels of innovation are not and may be intentionally changed over time by various company initiatives. Or the market may change and the company level of innovation changes with its market.
3. Back Story – again, part of the participant’s pre-work, which is intended to be completed two weeks prior to the workshop, and this should be followed up by that company’s consultant/mentor.
4. Level of Technology Innovation – this builds off the points in #2 and ultimately results in each company landing on a particular spot on the innovation matrix horizontal axis. The participant who owns this spot should be able by the end of the day to defend why they belong here.
5. Level of Market Innovation – complimentary task to #4, only now on the vertical axis.
6. Blank’s Market Type Concept – the facilitator owns the articulation of this concept until s/he is confident that all the participants understand the concept and how to apply it.
7. Market Type Examples – the facilitator illustrates the concept for each of the five market types with real world examples and may also include in-class examples.
8. Technology Innovation Description – coffee shop or Tesla fully-electric vehicle. I.e. low or high innovation, and low or high risk, time and expenditure.
9. Market Innovation Description – typically, low technology innovators may only require low market innovation, but to break through in the market they may need medium market innovation. By contrast, high technology innovators usually require high market innovation. For example, Tesla positioned themselves in the expensive, high-performing, luxury automobile segment of the market, whereas all their predecessors had positioned themselves in the affordable, average or low performing segment. These examples help to drive home the concepts that have been described and are worked on in the exercises, individually and as a group.
10. Innovation Examples – the examples are intended to illustrate the concepts in a way that should help make sense even for those struggling with the concept. Sometimes the examples lead to more discussion and debate. For example, Uber is considered by Steve Blank and others as a new market with a high level of technology and market innovation. To do what they did at the time they did it required awesome back-office computing with a front-end that was entirely wireless compatible. Implementation required that prospective customers changed their behaviours – no more hailing cabs at the curbside or phoning to book one. This is the definition of a truly disruptive innovation – it requires customers to change their behaviours in order to adopt the technology. You had to download an app and then call your car through the app. No more fixed prices or credit card receipts. Pricing is dynamic and the transactions are all done through the app. But to some people, especially amongst the younger generation who may never really had the opportunity to use taxis, this is just ride-sharing once you have outgrown public transit. So, they think the level of innovation is low and the market is competitive, with others like Lyft and Yellow Cab as the direct competitors. As with all concepts and examples in the Program, this discussion is healthy and there is no right and wrong answer, just a need to understand and accept for the point of the exercise that this is a highly innovative solution in a new market, at the time they launched.
11. Innovation Matrix Plot – we plot a hand-drawn two-way matrix on the flip chart and during break-time ask each company to put their initials where they belong. After the break, we review this with the entire group, generate discussion and in some cases, reposition company positions on the plot.
Planning is the process of preparing a plan to facilitate execution of any given task, in this case, delivery of the second workshop. Planning for this workshop involves two core groups:
1) The program participants and the program professionals
2) The facilitator, AGC consultants and mentors.
Planning for the program professionals is described in detail in the MVP facilitator and mentor guides. Facilitators are expected to review the presentation materials exhaustively, to read all of the pre-work and to view all of the videos. They also need to supplement these pre-work materials with their own materials, for examples, anecdotes and supplemental learning. The rule of thumb for facilitators is to plan for at least as much time in their pre-work as they are required to spend in the actual facilitation, which is six hours.
Mentors are expected to complete the pre-work readings and videos and to familiarize themselves with the workshop exercises. For a first-time mentor, this may also take them up to six hours to complete.
Participants are expected to plan to spend six hours reviewing the pre-work readings and videos and completing the pre-work workbook. They should do this at least two weeks prior to the workshop. Each participant company needs to plan a time to spend with their AGC consultant or mentor to review their pre-work. Ideally, they should plan to do this at least one week prior to the workshop, which allows time for any required rework.
As with any well thought out plan, scheduling is essential. As someone famous once said, “plan your work and work your plan”, which begins with putting the time and activity in to your calendar. Given that the workshops are locked down, these are easily entered in everyone’s calendar, four weeks apart over the 24-month period. The equivalent preparation time also needs to be entered in each participant and professional’s calendar, in time slots that suit their schedule, but meet the requirements set out above.
The pre-work package is clearly defined for each workshop and the second workshop is no exception. For this second workshop each participant is expected to address their market type and level of innovation, including a description of their “back-story’, which inspired the creation of their company.
For innovation, the pre-work is as follows:
What is the source of your innovation?
My market innovation comes from:
My technology Innovation comes from:
My innovation is valuable because:
For market type, the pre-work is:
What is your market type?
When you reviewed Steve Blank’s readings on market type, you discovered that there are five options and each of these needed a slightly different approach. Choose the model that best suited your market type and make some notes on why you chose this market type:
1. Existing market
2. Re-segmented – value priced
3. Re-segmented – premium priced
4. New market
5. Clone market
Finally, complete the following short assignment on your company back-story:
Where did your idea come from? Tell the history of your product or service.
• Boil it down to a sentence, something catchy that would be a tagline on your website.
• Answer the question: why am I developing this product/business?
• If I was writing the story of my business 20 years later (or in my memoirs…)
• I’m being profiled in Entrepreneur magazine and the interviewer asks…where did it all start?
• We’re making a corporate training video to orient new employees to the history of the company.
If these pre-work materials are sufficiently addressed, then the actual workshop should be manageable, provided that participants and professionals plan to: 1) turn their wireless devices off and disengage from their office for the day; 2) get active for every exercise session, which accounts for about half of each workshop day; 3) participate in the group exercises with sincerity and enthusiasm. Also, everyone needs to plan to participate in each and every full six-hour workshop. During the second workshop we will complete the following exercises:
Workshop Day 2, Exercise #1
What is your market type? What is your market type hypothesis based on?
Workshop Day 2, Exercise #2
Describe the source of your innovation, where you are on the innovation chart, what your top three technology and market risks are, how long it will take you to create your Version 1 product, and how long until you have your first customer.
Each participant needs to be able to complete these exercises on their own, based on their pre-work and what they have learned in class. They then need to defend their hypotheses to their table mates – peers, mentors and AGC consultants; and ultimately to the entire class, including the facilitator.
Once this second workshop is completed, all participants must plan to complete the post-work, which again is a combination of reading, videos and workbook activities. They are required to review their two completed exercises, revise them and copy them in to their Go-to-Market Plan template. This is essential, since the 24 modules in this Plan are made up of the individual exercises from each of the 24 workshops. A sample Go-to-Market Plan is available for review by any participant at any time.
Note that in the post-work the emphasis is on proper completion of the workshop exercises, as part of the participant’s Go-to-Market Plan. These exercises were also included in the pre-work. In other words, the participant is expected to complete three drafts of each exercise -one before the workshop, one during the workshop and one following the workshop. They should plan to do this in the first two weeks following the workshop and the sooner the better, while the ideas from class are still fresh. Note also that the readings and videos in the post-work are the same as those in the pre-work, but now the participant may view with a fresh perspective, taking what they have learned in the workshop and from their work on the exercises.
As mentioned previously, the fundamental development model in the Market Validation Program is hypothesis formulation and testing. Participants are encouraged to make their best guess or hypothesis on all aspects of their business, including their market type and level of innovation – the focus of this second workshop. Later in the Program, we will show participants how to validate these hypotheses in the marketplace, or revise them if the market invalidates them. This is an iterative process which requires participants to have a “development mindset”. If they think they have all the answers and that they have nothing to learn from their Program or from their marketplace, it will be a very long 24 months, and even a long six-hour second workshop, for everyone involved.
One of the real beauties of the Market Validation Program is that it continually develops, with each time each workshop is delivered, and with each participant who graduates. This is because we take a continuous development approach to all of the principles, constantly asking people for feedback and routinely incorporating this feedback in to Program development. We have developed many of the core concepts from the authors we reference and this has expanded on these concepts.
For example, in workshop #2, we have developed Steve Blank’s market type concept by adding a fifth market type – clone markets, which are a distinct subset of existing markets – ones that exist in other locales are cloned in a new geographic or vertical market. The example we use of this in workshop #2 is Badu, the Chinese clone of Google, because Google was unable to operate in China and Badu founders saw the opportunity to clone Google in China. Other examples of this are also developed in the workshop.
Implementation is all about putting the plan in to action, and the Program is designed to do just that. Consider the following:
Pre-work begets workshop work
Workshop work begets post-work
Post-work begets Go-to-Market Planning
GTM Plan begets Market Validation
Market Validation begets increased revenue
Increased revenue begets increase profits
Increased profit begets better planning
Repeat this process to build a profitable, sustainable business & plan for success
In other words, the goal of the Market Validation Program is to build actionable Go-to-Market Plans, to implement these plans, and deliver more revenue and profit. This positive virtuous upward success spiral is sustainable and repeatable. We expect Program graduates to become better business people, who are more planful and better able to implement those plans, with the goal to increase sales.
To implement the two core principles learned in workshop #2 is reasonably straightforward:
1. Market Type – take the market type assumption or hypothesis and test it in the marketplace. Once validated, ensure that your company is aligned to this type of market. For example, if you are truly a new market, plan to raise a lot of money, take a very long time and live with much risk, prior to success.
2. Level of Innovation – take your level of innovation hypothesis or assumption and test it in the marketplace. Once validated, ensure that your company is aligned to this level of innovation. For example, if you are highly technologically innovative, then do you have high enough market innovation to float your innovation boat? And do you have the money, resources, shareholder support and moxey to ride out a long, arduous, risky and expensive time horizon?
Also, do you have a good handle on your backstory? Can you clearly articulate it in about 90 seconds at a cocktail party? If you have an opportunity to expand on this during a business presentation, is your five-minute expanded version memorable? Are you passionate about delivering it in any version?
Finally, any implementation is only as good as the results delivered. We set the stage in this second workshop for the three levels of market validation: a provable set of market hypotheses for customer discovery, a testable minimum viable product, and finally a business model that shows how you make money by attaining customer who happily pay your asking price on your product or service.
Management in the second workshop aligns with management in the first workshop, which begins with has the participant managed their time efficiently, so that they come to the workshop prepared. Do they manage their time effectively during the workshop, so that they capture the invaluable input of their peers, the mentors and the facilitator? Have they got the time discipline to use the exercise time well and complete a good second draft of the required materials? And finally, do they manage themselves well after this second workshop to create their third draft of their exercises, for submission in to their first draft Go-to-Market Plan – the core deliverable for the entire Program.
Professional management is required of the consultants, mentors and facilitators. Did they review and execute the mentor preparation manual, including all the pre-reading and video review? Have they reviewed the exercises and really thought about how to help participants complete them? What personal stories can they bring to the table and how helpful will these be?
Management is the art of getting things done through others and nowhere is this truer than in each and every workshop. The job of the professionals is not to take over the work of the participants and complete the exercises for them. Their job is to ask the right questions, provide illustrative examples, and poke or prod to get people thinking more creatively about their business opportunity.
The second workshop, when well managed, will push participants to open their eyes and see things in a different way. Many, most or perhaps all of the participants have not thought about their market type. Without thinking about this and managing to define their market, they are likely destined for failure.
Armed with this new found knowledge, they will now be able to manage their limited marketing resources much more effectively. “Marketing” can be defined as managing the resources of the company to best serve their markets. But you cannot do this if you do not know the market type you operate in. Nor can you manage very effectively if you do not know your level of innovation, and how balanced that is between market and technology innovations. In this second workshop, participants learn this concept, almost always for the first time, and can apply it to better managing their business.
If I were to say to you that we could make you a better manager by helping you understand and then apply these two core concepts from the second workshop, perhaps you would think I am crazy. But the evidence suggests otherwise. Time and time again our participants have two ah-hah moments in this second workshop – one for each of the two exercises they manage their way through.
Perhaps they could manage on without this knowledge, just as I can drive my car on a dark winter night through fog without my headlights. But I think all of us can agree that we’d prefer to drive with our headlights on, not just to see the bumps ahead of us on our journey, but also to see our dashboard and know from our instruments what needs to be managed. With the knowledge imparted in workshop #2, participants will return to their business with their headlights on and their dashboard illuminated. They will know if they have enough gas to enter a new market with a highly innovative product or not.
This is what we call good management, although we are not sure whether it is a PhD in management or Management 101.
Review, systematic and repetitive, is a fundamental part of the process throughout the Market Validation Program, including workshop #2. Mentors review the pre-work prior to the workshop, peer review drives activities and outcomes during the workshop, and mentors again review the post-work. Also, the participants are expected to self-review and to hold their peers accountable. Peer review, mentor review, and also of course, facilitator review, are all essential components of workshop #2. Because this is the first workshop following the introductory workshop #1, we emphasize with the participants that their workbooks and their Go-to-Market Plans will continually be reviewed.
Remember that one of the foundations of the Program is the concept of hypothesis creation, testing, validation or revision. Without this there would be no validation and therefore no market validation and hence no enhanced revenue opportunity. With disciplined and sustained review, the process of creating hypotheses, testing these hypotheses, and validating or revising them, participants build better businesses. In fact, the whole Program is a review of sorts, at a high level. Closer to the ground, we review the required components, beginning in workshop #2 with market type and level of innovation.
This is easy to write up but not so easy to do. In my direct experience, I have facilitated review processes that often repeat many times. In at least two instances, we worked through all 24 workshops one-on-one and drafted a V1 Go-to-Market Plan, which the client then tested in the marketplace. They then participated in the Market Validation Program and repeated everything, including workshop #2, only this time adding the invaluable peer review. By the end of this Program, they had their V2 GTM Plan, which they then tested in the marketplace. We then worked together to create their Version 3 Plan, which they further tested, resulting in numerous pivots and finally success. Each of these companies are recognized as highly successful start-ups, winning numerous awards and achieving financial success. They could not have done this without successfully completing and reviewing the concepts and exercises in workshop #2.
In one of Steve Blank’s videos, he speaks candidly about his success and failure as a serial entrepreneur. He was incredibly successful with a start-up and then took the same team and practices on to his next start-up, where he failed miserably. Upon review, he realized that he had missed two core principles:
1) not understanding his market type and 2) not realizing his level of market and technology innovation.
Oops! Steve Blank is a distinguished Stanford business school and technology professor who founded numerous companies, some that were successful and some not so much. He had the power to review what he had done and sift out some insights that all of us are now able to draw upon.
Thank you Steve for your contributions to the essence of our Market Validation Program Workshop #2!
The history of the Market Validation Program second module is complimentary to the overall history of the Program. Market type is a concept that Steve Blank explains in the context of start-ups. Although other business gurus have covered this, Steve’s take on it is most relevant to entrepreneurs and start-ups, whether company or divisional. As always with his writing, he is innovative and relies on considerable empirical evidence. He began his journey on this concept by asking himself why did many of his entrepreneurial initiatives end in failure while others succeeded? Why couldn’t he and his experienced team take what they learned from one successful start-up and cleverly apply this to their next success? The answer he discovered was that each of his start-ups occupied different market types and that market types determine how everything else must be done. For example, if you are opening up a new market, this is very different from entering an existing market. The former is all about exploring the great unknown, which takes time, money and guts. The latter is about how to compete effectively, defining ones’ sustainable differentiated competitive advantage, and pricing at, above or below the current market midpoint. From our experience with this concept, nobody coming into the Program has thought about this, which Blank says is the fatal flaw of many start-ups.
The origin of the market type concept in the Market Validation Program is credited to Ralph Turfus, the founder of the precursor Growth Strategy Program. Ralph is an engineer who reads widely to teach himself what he does not know about sales and marketing (which Ralph will tell you was just about everything). Steve Blank was part of Ralph’s reading, which we should all be thankful for, because the market type concept alone makes the Program worth our while.
The complimentary concept covered in this second workshop is levels of technology and market innovation, which is not credited to any particular author, but fits nicely into the early hypothesis generation required to start us thinking about how best to go to market. The concept begins with the believe that you must know how innovative your solution is and in what way. What we learn from our participants is that many are quite delusional until educated and pressed to really think this through. For example, many participants assert that their technology is highly innovative, but when pressed cannot really describe why, and concede that they are not filing for patent or other intellectual property protection, nor can they expound on what makes them better than direct competitors. Market innovation often leaves them even more befuddled, with many not able to elucidate any pricing strategy, channel strategy, promotional tactics, or digital marketing approach.
In the decade over which we have executed the Program repeatedly, we have learned that these two concepts are really foundational to the rest of the Program. If participants do not work these two through, and incorporate the feedback they get from their peers, mentors and stakeholders, they will get really stuck. Consider the following scenario:
Start-up founders join the Program and are assigned a mentor, who works with them actively for the four weeks proceeding this second monthly module. During the day of the actual workshop, it becomes clear that there is a mental block for the senior founder, who also is the Chief Executive Officer. He is blind to the competition, a behemoth corporation with a household name, a directly competitive product and a price point that is 1/100th of theirs. In other words, customers could get the established big-brand competitive product for one hundred dollars for every 10,000 dollars they would be charged to do business with new name/no brand start-up. The premise that it is an irrational act to buy from a start-up simply did not resonate with them, because they believed that their engineered product advantages beat all else, including a very well established brand name, an established product with market share, a world-class distribution system and channel partner salesforce, a very aggressive low-end price point in a highly price sensitive market, aggressive and highly visible promotional campaign – including proven key opinion leader advocates, and a proven acceptable technology, albeit technically inferior. We call this Founderitis and it can be debilitating.
In this case, it took the advice of a team of well-qualified and well-intentioned mentors, a mentor/consultant who did the grunt work and co-wrote their go-to-market plan, and literally years of patient nose-to-the-grindstone work, to educate and eventually turn their thinking around so they were able to establish themselves in the marketplace. Their success is a testimony to their innate abilities, the core business concept they developed and exploited, and their tenacity in developing and implementing a plan that required numerous pivots (they were also agile).
The Market Validation Program has been proven to deliver success to its clients and customers in many different iterations – Acetech’s Growth Strategy Program, NRC’s International Market Validation Program, Wavefront Market Validation Training, Duke’s Entrepreneurship Workshop and now Appleton Greene and Company’s Market Validation Program. This success originated in the Vancouver Information Technology industry environment, then morphed in to established companies in various industries wanting to expand in to international markets, changed again to address wireless start-up companies, reincarnated itself to address the needs of biomedical students, professors and post-docs, and now in its latest creation – targeting the life sciences industry in the world’s leading life science cities.
This latest development is exciting and promises to be rewarding, challenging and in the interest of all those who chose to get involved. We are confident that the success enjoyed life-to-date will not only continue but may well expand, given the global strength of Appleton Greene as an educational partner to its Certified Learning Providers. We are honored to be chosen as the CLP for MVP rollout.
For this particular workshop, we do not forecast any profound changes, since the concepts of market type, market innovation and technology innovation cut across all industries, and are not unique to the Life Sciences industry. What is unique are the examples, which can easily be modified to suit a different audience, such as wireless/telecom/IoT or technology broadly or subsets of life sciences such as medical devices or biotechnology. It really does not matter, because the concepts are industry agnostic. Steve Blank famously wrote that his principals did not apply to the life sciences sector, until the sector came to him and said they must. Together, they worked out how to apply his principles and discovered they had immense value, even in drug development and commercialization, just with different budgets and timelines. This is in a way hard to believe -that a concept proven with down and dirty software development for gaming apps is also relevant to bespoke blockbuster drug development.
Participants, in advance of the workshop, describe in writing in their workbook:
– where their product idea came from
– what the source of their innovation is or was
– where their technology innovation came from
– where their market innovation came from
– why their innovation is valuable
– from reviewing Steve Blank’s “Discovery Map” slides 46 – 54 on the Types of Markets
– what is your market type
At the workshop, the facilitator (CLP of their delegate), describes clearly and passionately:
Clone, existing, re-segmented value-driven, re-segmented brand driven, or new market.
– providing examples of each
– Type of market changes everything – described
– The big question for each market type
– The key implication is risk
– Exercise #1 – Market Type: each participant applies the Steve Blank concept to decide which market type applies to the start-up or new division they are building and describes what this hypothesis is based on.
– Where innovations come from
– What’s the back story for each participant?
– What is the nature of each innovation
– Are you changing the way the market operates?
– Are you bringing a new or repurposed technology to market?
– What is your unfair and sustainable competitive advantage?
– What is Market Innovation?
– Provide examples of market innovation
– What is Technology Innovation?
– Provide examples of technology innovation
– The Innovation Source Matrix and what it means to each of the participants
– Exercise 2: Innovation Source – describe the source of your market and technology innovations, where you are on each of the two axis in the Innovation Source Matrix, describe your top three market and technology risks, how long it will take to deliver your Version 1 minimum viable product, and how long it will take before you have your first customer. Plot your spot on the Matrix on the public wallchart.
Note: for each exercise, participants will present their results to their peers and mentors for discussion, feedback and possible revision.
Welcome to Appleton Greene and thank you for enrolling on the Market Validation corporate training program. You will be learning through our unique facilitation via distance-learning method, which will enable you to practically implement everything that you learn academically. The methods and materials used in your program have been designed and developed to ensure that you derive the maximum benefits and enjoyment possible. We hope that you find the program challenging and fun to do. However, if you have never been a distance-learner before, you may be experiencing some trepidation at the task before you. So we will get you started by giving you some basic information and guidance on how you can make the best use of the modules, how you should manage the materials and what you should be doing as you work through them. This guide is designed to point you in the right direction and help you to become an effective distance-learner. Take a few hours or so to study this guide and your guide to tutorial support for students, while making notes, before you start to study in earnest.
You will need to locate a quiet and private place to study, preferably a room where you can easily be isolated from external disturbances or distractions. Make sure the room is well-lit and incorporates a relaxed, pleasant feel. If you can spoil yourself within your study environment, you will have much more of a chance to ensure that you are always in the right frame of mind when you do devote time to study. For example, a nice fire, the ability to play soft soothing background music, soft but effective lighting, perhaps a nice view if possible and a good size desk with a comfortable chair. Make sure that your family know when you are studying and understand your study rules. Your study environment is very important. The ideal situation, if at all possible, is to have a separate study, which can be devoted to you. If this is not possible then you will need to pay a lot more attention to developing and managing your study schedule, because it will affect other people as well as yourself. The better your study environment, the more productive you will be.
Study tools & rules
Try and make sure that your study tools are sufficient and in good working order. You will need to have access to a computer, scanner and printer, with access to the internet. You will need a very comfortable chair, which supports your lower back, and you will need a good filing system. It can be very frustrating if you are spending valuable study time trying to fix study tools that are unreliable, or unsuitable for the task. Make sure that your study tools are up to date. You will also need to consider some study rules. Some of these rules will apply to you and will be intended to help you to be more disciplined about when and how you study. This distance-learning guide will help you and after you have read it you can put some thought into what your study rules should be. You will also need to negotiate some study rules for your family, friends or anyone who lives with you. They too will need to be disciplined in order to ensure that they can support you while you study. It is important to ensure that your family and friends are an integral part of your study team. Having their support and encouragement can prove to be a crucial contribution to your successful completion of the program. Involve them in as much as you can.
Distance-learners are freed from the necessity of attending regular classes or workshops, since they can study in their own way, at their own pace and for their own purposes. But unlike traditional internal training courses, it is the student’s responsibility, with a distance-learning program, to ensure that they manage their own study contribution. This requires strong self-discipline and self-motivation skills and there must be a clear will to succeed. Those students who are used to managing themselves, are good at managing others and who enjoy working in isolation, are more likely to be good distance-learners. It is also important to be aware of the main reasons why you are studying and of the main objectives that you are hoping to achieve as a result. You will need to remind yourself of these objectives at times when you need to motivate yourself. Never lose sight of your long-term goals and your short-term objectives. There is nobody available here to pamper you, or to look after you, or to spoon-feed you with information, so you will need to find ways to encourage and appreciate yourself while you are studying. Make sure that you chart your study progress, so that you can be sure of your achievements and re-evaluate your goals and objectives regularly.
Appleton Greene training programs are in all cases post-graduate programs. Consequently, you should already have obtained a business-related degree and be an experienced learner. You should therefore already be aware of your study strengths and weaknesses. For example, which time of the day are you at your most productive? Are you a lark or an owl? What study methods do you respond to the most? Are you a consistent learner? How do you discipline yourself? How do you ensure that you enjoy yourself while studying? It is important to understand yourself as a learner and so some self-assessment early on will be necessary if you are to apply yourself correctly. Perform a SWOT analysis on yourself as a student. List your internal strengths and weaknesses as a student and your external opportunities and threats. This will help you later on when you are creating a study plan. You can then incorporate features within your study plan that can ensure that you are playing to your strengths, while compensating for your weaknesses. You can also ensure that you make the most of your opportunities, while avoiding the potential threats to your success.
Accepting responsibility as a student
Training programs invariably require a significant investment, both in terms of what they cost and in the time that you need to contribute to study and the responsibility for successful completion of training programs rests entirely with the student. This is never more apparent than when a student is learning via distance-learning. Accepting responsibility as a student is an important step towards ensuring that you can successfully complete your training program. It is easy to instantly blame other people or factors when things go wrong. But the fact of the matter is that if a failure is your failure, then you have the power to do something about it, it is entirely in your own hands. If it is always someone else’s failure, then you are powerless to do anything about it. All students study in entirely different ways, this is because we are all individuals and what is right for one student, is not necessarily right for another. In order to succeed, you will have to accept personal responsibility for finding a way to plan, implement and manage a personal study plan that works for you. If you do not succeed, you only have yourself to blame.
By far the most critical contribution to stress, is the feeling of not being in control. In the absence of planning we tend to be reactive and can stumble from pillar to post in the hope that things will turn out fine in the end. Invariably they don’t! In order to be in control, we need to have firm ideas about how and when we want to do things. We also need to consider as many possible eventualities as we can, so that we are prepared for them when they happen. Prescriptive Change, is far easier to manage and control, than Emergent Change. The same is true with distance-learning. It is much easier and much more enjoyable, if you feel that you are in control and that things are going to plan. Even when things do go wrong, you are prepared for them and can act accordingly without any unnecessary stress. It is important therefore that you do take time to plan your studies properly.
Once you have developed a clear study plan, it is of equal importance to ensure that you manage the implementation of it. Most of us usually enjoy planning, but it is usually during implementation when things go wrong. Targets are not met and we do not understand why. Sometimes we do not even know if targets are being met. It is not enough for us to conclude that the study plan just failed. If it is failing, you will need to understand what you can do about it. Similarly if your study plan is succeeding, it is still important to understand why, so that you can improve upon your success. You therefore need to have guidelines for self-assessment so that you can be consistent with performance improvement throughout the program. If you manage things correctly, then your performance should constantly improve throughout the program.
Study objectives & tasks
The first place to start is developing your program objectives. These should feature your reasons for undertaking the training program in order of priority. Keep them succinct and to the point in order to avoid confusion. Do not just write the first things that come into your head because they are likely to be too similar to each other. Make a list of possible departmental headings, such as: Customer Service; E-business; Finance; Globalization; Human Resources; Technology; Legal; Management; Marketing and Production. Then brainstorm for ideas by listing as many things that you want to achieve under each heading and later re-arrange these things in order of priority. Finally, select the top item from each department heading and choose these as your program objectives. Try and restrict yourself to five because it will enable you to focus clearly. It is likely that the other things that you listed will be achieved if each of the top objectives are achieved. If this does not prove to be the case, then simply work through the process again.
As a guide, the Appleton Greene Market Validation corporate training program should take 12-18 months to complete, depending upon your availability and current commitments. The reason why there is such a variance in time estimates is because every student is an individual, with differing productivity levels and different commitments. These differentiations are then exaggerated by the fact that this is a distance-learning program, which incorporates the practical integration of academic theory as an as a part of the training program. Consequently all of the project studies are real, which means that important decisions and compromises need to be made. You will want to get things right and will need to be patient with your expectations in order to ensure that they are. We would always recommend that you are prudent with your own task and time forecasts, but you still need to develop them and have a clear indication of what are realistic expectations in your case.
With reference to your time planning: consider the time that you can realistically dedicate towards study with the program every week; calculate how long it should take you to complete the program, using the guidelines featured here; then break the program down into logical modules and allocate a suitable proportion of time to each of them, these will be your milestones; you can create a time plan by using a spreadsheet on your computer, or a personal organizer such as MS Outlook, you could also use a financial forecasting software; break your time forecasts down into manageable chunks of time, the more specific you can be, the more productive and accurate your time management will be; finally, use formulas where possible to do your time calculations for you, because this will help later on when your forecasts need to change in line with actual performance.
With reference to your task planning: refer to your list of tasks that need to be undertaken in order to achieve your program objectives; with reference to your time plan, calculate when each task should be implemented; remember that you are not estimating when your objectives will be achieved, but when you will need to focus upon implementing the corresponding tasks; you also need to ensure that each task is implemented in conjunction with the associated training modules which are relevant; then break each single task down into a list of specific to do’s, say approximately ten to do’s for each task and enter these into your study plan; once again you could use MS Outlook to incorporate both your time and task planning and this could constitute your study plan; you could also use a project management software like MS Project. You should now have a clear and realistic forecast detailing when you can expect to be able to do something about undertaking the tasks to achieve your program objectives.
It is one thing to develop your study forecast, it is quite another to monitor your progress. Ultimately it is less important whether you achieve your original study forecast and more important that you update it so that it constantly remains realistic in line with your performance. As you begin to work through the program, you will begin to have more of an idea about your own personal performance and productivity levels as a distance-learner. Once you have completed your first study module, you should re-evaluate your study forecast for both time and tasks, so that they reflect your actual performance level achieved. In order to achieve this you must first time yourself while training by using an alarm clock. Set the alarm for hourly intervals and make a note of how far you have come within that time. You can then make a note of your actual performance on your study plan and then compare your performance against your forecast. Then consider the reasons that have contributed towards your performance level, whether they are positive or negative and make a considered adjustment to your future forecasts as a result. Given time, you should start achieving your forecasts regularly.
With reference to time management: time yourself while you are studying and make a note of the actual time taken in your study plan; consider your successes with time-efficiency and the reasons for the success in each case and take this into consideration when reviewing future time planning; consider your failures with time-efficiency and the reasons for the failures in each case and take this into consideration when reviewing future time planning; re-evaluate your study forecast in relation to time planning for the remainder of your training program to ensure that you continue to be realistic about your time expectations. You need to be consistent with your time management, otherwise you will never complete your studies. This will either be because you are not contributing enough time to your studies, or you will become less efficient with the time that you do allocate to your studies. Remember, if you are not in control of your studies, they can just become yet another cause of stress for you.
With reference to your task management: time yourself while you are studying and make a note of the actual tasks that you have undertaken in your study plan; consider your successes with task-efficiency and the reasons for the success in each case; take this into consideration when reviewing future task planning; consider your failures with task-efficiency and the reasons for the failures in each case and take this into consideration when reviewing future task planning; re-evaluate your study forecast in relation to task planning for the remainder of your training program to ensure that you continue to be realistic about your task expectations. You need to be consistent with your task management, otherwise you will never know whether you are achieving your program objectives or not.
Keeping in touch
You will have access to qualified and experienced professors and tutors who are responsible for providing tutorial support for your particular training program. So don’t be shy about letting them know how you are getting on. We keep electronic records of all tutorial support emails so that professors and tutors can review previous correspondence before considering an individual response. It also means that there is a record of all communications between you and your professors and tutors and this helps to avoid any unnecessary duplication, misunderstanding, or misinterpretation. If you have a problem relating to the program, share it with them via email. It is likely that they have come across the same problem before and are usually able to make helpful suggestions and steer you in the right direction. To learn more about when and how to use tutorial support, please refer to the Tutorial Support section of this student information guide. This will help you to ensure that you are making the most of tutorial support that is available to you and will ultimately contribute towards your success and enjoyment with your training program.
Work colleagues and family
You should certainly discuss your program study progress with your colleagues, friends and your family. Appleton Greene training programs are very practical. They require you to seek information from other people, to plan, develop and implement processes with other people and to achieve feedback from other people in relation to viability and productivity. You will therefore have plenty of opportunities to test your ideas and enlist the views of others. People tend to be sympathetic towards distance-learners, so don’t bottle it all up in yourself. Get out there and share it! It is also likely that your family and colleagues are going to benefit from your labors with the program, so they are likely to be much more interested in being involved than you might think. Be bold about delegating work to those who might benefit themselves. This is a great way to achieve understanding and commitment from people who you may later rely upon for process implementation. Share your experiences with your friends and family.
Making it relevant
The key to successful learning is to make it relevant to your own individual circumstances. At all times you should be trying to make bridges between the content of the program and your own situation. Whether you achieve this through quiet reflection or through interactive discussion with your colleagues, client partners or your family, remember that it is the most important and rewarding aspect of translating your studies into real self-improvement. You should be clear about how you want the program to benefit you. This involves setting clear study objectives in relation to the content of the course in terms of understanding, concepts, completing research or reviewing activities and relating the content of the modules to your own situation. Your objectives may understandably change as you work through the program, in which case you should enter the revised objectives on your study plan so that you have a permanent reminder of what you are trying to achieve, when and why.
Prepare your study environment, your study tools and rules.
Undertake detailed self-assessment in terms of your ability as a learner.
Create a format for your study plan.
Consider your study objectives and tasks.
Create a study forecast.
Assess your study performance.
Re-evaluate your study forecast.
Be consistent when managing your study plan.
Use your Appleton Greene Certified Learning Provider (CLP) for tutorial support.
Make sure you keep in touch with those around you.
Appleton Greene uses standard and bespoke corporate training programs as vessels to transfer business process improvement knowledge into the heart of our clients’ organizations. Each individual program focuses upon the implementation of a specific business process, which enables clients to easily quantify their return on investment. There are hundreds of established Appleton Greene corporate training products now available to clients within customer services, e-business, finance, globalization, human resources, information technology, legal, management, marketing and production. It does not matter whether a client’s employees are located within one office, or an unlimited number of international offices, we can still bring them together to learn and implement specific business processes collectively. Our approach to global localization enables us to provide clients with a truly international service with that all important personal touch. Appleton Greene corporate training programs can be provided virtually or locally and they are all unique in that they individually focus upon a specific business function. They are implemented over a sustainable period of time and professional support is consistently provided by qualified learning providers and specialist consultants.
You will have a designated Certified Learning Provider (CLP) and an Accredited Consultant and we encourage you to communicate with them as much as possible. In all cases tutorial support is provided online because we can then keep a record of all communications to ensure that tutorial support remains consistent. You would also be forwarding your work to the tutorial support unit for evaluation and assessment. You will receive individual feedback on all of the work that you undertake on a one-to-one basis, together with specific recommendations for anything that may need to be changed in order to achieve a pass with merit or a pass with distinction and you then have as many opportunities as you may need to re-submit project studies until they meet with the required standard. Consequently the only reason that you should really fail (CLP) is if you do not do the work. It makes no difference to us whether a student takes 12 months or 18 months to complete the program, what matters is that in all cases the same quality standard will have been achieved.
Please forward all of your future emails to the designated (CLP) Tutorial Support Unit email address that has been provided and please do not duplicate or copy your emails to other AGC email accounts as this will just cause unnecessary administration. Please note that emails are always answered as quickly as possible but you will need to allow a period of up to 20 business days for responses to general tutorial support emails during busy periods, because emails are answered strictly within the order in which they are received. You will also need to allow a period of up to 30 business days for the evaluation and assessment of project studies. This does not include weekends or public holidays. Please therefore kindly allow for this within your time planning. All communications are managed online via email because it enables tutorial service support managers to review other communications which have been received before responding and it ensures that there is a copy of all communications retained on file for future reference. All communications will be stored within your personal (CLP) study file here at Appleton Greene throughout your designated study period. If you need any assistance or clarification at any time, please do not hesitate to contact us by forwarding an email and remember that we are here to help. If you have any questions, please list and number your questions succinctly and you can then be sure of receiving specific answers to each and every query.
It takes approximately 1 Year to complete the Market Validation corporate training program, incorporating 12 x 6-hour monthly workshops. Each student will also need to contribute approximately 4 hours per week over 1 Year of their personal time. Students can study from home or work at their own pace and are responsible for managing their own study plan. There are no formal examinations and students are evaluated and assessed based upon their project study submissions, together with the quality of their internal analysis and supporting documents. They can contribute more time towards study when they have the time to do so and can contribute less time when they are busy. All students tend to be in full time employment while studying and the Market Validation program is purposely designed to accommodate this, so there is plenty of flexibility in terms of time management. It makes no difference to us at Appleton Greene, whether individuals take 12-18 months to complete this program. What matters is that in all cases the same standard of quality will have been achieved with the standard and bespoke programs that have been developed.
Distance Learning Guide
The distance learning guide should be your first port of call when starting your training program. It will help you when you are planning how and when to study, how to create the right environment and how to establish the right frame of mind. If you can lay the foundations properly during the planning stage, then it will contribute to your enjoyment and productivity while training later. The guide helps to change your lifestyle in order to accommodate time for study and to cultivate good study habits. It helps you to chart your progress so that you can measure your performance and achieve your goals. It explains the tools that you will need for study and how to make them work. It also explains how to translate academic theory into practical reality. Spend some time now working through your distance learning guide and make sure that you have firm foundations in place so that you can make the most of your distance learning program. There is no requirement for you to attend training workshops or classes at Appleton Greene offices. The entire program is undertaken online, program course manuals and project studies are administered via the Appleton Greene web site and via email, so you are able to study at your own pace and in the comfort of your own home or office as long as you have a computer and access to the internet.
How To Study
The how to study guide provides students with a clear understanding of the Appleton Greene facilitation via distance learning training methods and enables students to obtain a clear overview of the training program content. It enables students to understand the step-by-step training methods used by Appleton Greene and how course manuals are integrated with project studies. It explains the research and development that is required and the need to provide evidence and references to support your statements. It also enables students to understand precisely what will be required of them in order to achieve a pass with merit and a pass with distinction for individual project studies and provides useful guidance on how to be innovative and creative when developing your Unique Program Proposition (UPP).
Tutorial support for the Appleton Greene Market Validation corporate training program is provided online either through the Appleton Greene Client Support Portal (CSP), or via email. All tutorial support requests are facilitated by a designated Program Administration Manager (PAM). They are responsible for deciding which professor or tutor is the most appropriate option relating to the support required and then the tutorial support request is forwarded onto them. Once the professor or tutor has completed the tutorial support request and answered any questions that have been asked, this communication is then returned to the student via email by the designated Program Administration Manager (PAM). This enables all tutorial support, between students, professors and tutors, to be facilitated by the designated Program Administration Manager (PAM) efficiently and securely through the email account. You will therefore need to allow a period of up to 20 business days for responses to general support queries and up to 30 business days for the evaluation and assessment of project studies, because all tutorial support requests are answered strictly within the order in which they are received. This does not include weekends or public holidays. Consequently you need to put some thought into the management of your tutorial support procedure in order to ensure that your study plan is feasible and to obtain the maximum possible benefit from tutorial support during your period of study. Please retain copies of your tutorial support emails for future reference. Please ensure that ALL of your tutorial support emails are set out using the format as suggested within your guide to tutorial support. Your tutorial support emails need to be referenced clearly to the specific part of the course manual or project study which you are working on at any given time. You also need to list and number any questions that you would like to ask, up to a maximum of five questions within each tutorial support email. Remember the more specific you can be with your questions the more specific your answers will be too and this will help you to avoid any unnecessary misunderstanding, misinterpretation, or duplication. The guide to tutorial support is intended to help you to understand how and when to use support in order to ensure that you get the most out of your training program. Appleton Greene training programs are designed to enable you to do things for yourself. They provide you with a structure or a framework and we use tutorial support to facilitate students while they practically implement what they learn. In other words, we are enabling students to do things for themselves. The benefits of distance learning via facilitation are considerable and are much more sustainable in the long-term than traditional short-term knowledge sharing programs. Consequently you should learn how and when to use tutorial support so that you can maximize the benefits from your learning experience with Appleton Greene. This guide describes the purpose of each training function and how to use them and how to use tutorial support in relation to each aspect of the training program. It also provides useful tips and guidance with regard to best practice.
Tutorial Support Tips
Students are often unsure about how and when to use tutorial support with Appleton Greene. This Tip List will help you to understand more about how to achieve the most from using tutorial support. Refer to it regularly to ensure that you are continuing to use the service properly. Tutorial support is critical to the success of your training experience, but it is important to understand when and how to use it in order to maximize the benefit that you receive. It is no coincidence that those students who succeed are those that learn how to be positive, proactive and productive when using tutorial support.
Be positive and friendly with your tutorial support emails
Remember that if you forward an email to the tutorial support unit, you are dealing with real people. “Do unto others as you would expect others to do unto you”. If you are positive, complimentary and generally friendly in your emails, you will generate a similar response in return. This will be more enjoyable, productive and rewarding for you in the long-term.
Think about the impression that you want to create
Every time that you communicate, you create an impression, which can be either positive or negative, so put some thought into the impression that you want to create. Remember that copies of all tutorial support emails are stored electronically and tutors will always refer to prior correspondence before responding to any current emails. Over a period of time, a general opinion will be arrived at in relation to your character, attitude and ability. Try to manage your own frustrations, mood swings and temperament professionally, without involving the tutorial support team. Demonstrating frustration or a lack of patience is a weakness and will be interpreted as such. The good thing about communicating in writing, is that you will have the time to consider your content carefully, you can review it and proof-read it before sending your email to Appleton Greene and this should help you to communicate more professionally, consistently and to avoid any unnecessary knee-jerk reactions to individual situations as and when they may arise. Please also remember that the CLP Tutorial Support Unit will not just be responsible for evaluating and assessing the quality of your work, they will also be responsible for providing recommendations to other learning providers and to client contacts within the Appleton Greene global client network, so do be in control of your own emotions and try to create a good impression.
Remember that quality is preferred to quantity
Please remember that when you send an email to the tutorial support team, you are not using Twitter or Text Messaging. Try not to forward an email every time that you have a thought. This will not prove to be productive either for you or for the tutorial support team. Take time to prepare your communications properly, as if you were writing a professional letter to a business colleague and make a list of queries that you are likely to have and then incorporate them within one email, say once every month, so that the tutorial support team can understand more about context, application and your methodology for study. Get yourself into a consistent routine with your tutorial support requests and use the tutorial support template provided with ALL of your emails. The (CLP) Tutorial Support Unit will not spoon-feed you with information. They need to be able to evaluate and assess your tutorial support requests carefully and professionally.
Be specific about your questions in order to receive specific answers
Try not to write essays by thinking as you are writing tutorial support emails. The tutorial support unit can be unclear about what in fact you are asking, or what you are looking to achieve. Be specific about asking questions that you want answers to. Number your questions. You will then receive specific answers to each and every question. This is the main purpose of tutorial support via email.
Keep a record of your tutorial support emails
It is important that you keep a record of all tutorial support emails that are forwarded to you. You can then refer to them when necessary and it avoids any unnecessary duplication, misunderstanding, or misinterpretation.
Individual training workshops or telephone support
Please be advised that Appleton Greene does not provide separate or individual tutorial support meetings, workshops, or provide telephone support for individual students. Appleton Greene is an equal opportunities learning and service provider and we are therefore understandably bound to treat all students equally. We cannot therefore broker special financial or study arrangements with individual students regardless of the circumstances. All tutorial support is provided online and this enables Appleton Greene to keep a record of all communications between students, professors and tutors on file for future reference, in accordance with our quality management procedure and your terms and conditions of enrolment. All tutorial support is provided online via email because it enables us to have time to consider support content carefully, it ensures that you receive a considered and detailed response to your queries. You can number questions that you would like to ask, which relate to things that you do not understand or where clarification may be required. You can then be sure of receiving specific answers to each individual query. You will also then have a record of these communications and of all tutorial support, which has been provided to you. This makes tutorial support administration more productive by avoiding any unnecessary duplication, misunderstanding, or misinterpretation.
Tutorial Support Email Format
You should use this tutorial support format if you need to request clarification or assistance while studying with your training program. Please note that ALL of your tutorial support request emails should use the same format. You should therefore set up a standard email template, which you can then use as and when you need to. Emails that are forwarded to Appleton Greene, which do not use the following format, may be rejected and returned to you by the (CLP) Program Administration Manager. A detailed response will then be forwarded to you via email usually within 20 business days of receipt for general support queries and 30 business days for the evaluation and assessment of project studies. This does not include weekends or public holidays. Your tutorial support request, together with the corresponding TSU reply, will then be saved and stored within your electronic TSU file at Appleton Greene for future reference.
Subject line of your email
Please insert: Appleton Greene (CLP) Tutorial Support Request: (Your Full Name) (Date), within the subject line of your email.
Main body of your email
1. Appleton Greene Certified Learning Provider (CLP) Tutorial Support Request
2. Your Full Name
3. Date of TS request
4. Preferred email address
5. Backup email address
6. Course manual page name or number (reference)
7. Project study page name or number (reference)
Subject of enquiry
Please insert a maximum of 50 words (please be succinct)
Briefly outline the subject matter of your inquiry, or what your questions relate to.
Maximum of 50 words (please be succinct)
Maximum of 50 words (please be succinct)
Maximum of 50 words (please be succinct)
Maximum of 50 words (please be succinct)
Maximum of 50 words (please be succinct)
Please note that a maximum of 5 questions is permitted with each individual tutorial support request email.
* List the questions that you want to ask first, then re-arrange them in order of priority. Make sure that you reference them, where necessary, to the course manuals or project studies.
* Make sure that you are specific about your questions and number them. Try to plan the content within your emails to make sure that it is relevant.
* Make sure that your tutorial support emails are set out correctly, using the Tutorial Support Email Format provided here.
* Save a copy of your email and incorporate the date sent after the subject title. Keep your tutorial support emails within the same file and in date order for easy reference.
* Allow up to 20 business days for a response to general tutorial support emails and up to 30 business days for the evaluation and assessment of project studies, because detailed individual responses will be made in all cases and tutorial support emails are answered strictly within the order in which they are received.
* Emails can and do get lost. So if you have not received a reply within the appropriate time, forward another copy or a reminder to the tutorial support unit to be sure that it has been received but do not forward reminders unless the appropriate time has elapsed.
* When you receive a reply, save it immediately featuring the date of receipt after the subject heading for easy reference. In most cases the tutorial support unit replies to your questions individually, so you will have a record of the questions that you asked as well as the answers offered. With project studies however, separate emails are usually forwarded by the tutorial support unit, so do keep a record of your own original emails as well.
* Remember to be positive and friendly in your emails. You are dealing with real people who will respond to the same things that you respond to.
* Try not to repeat questions that have already been asked in previous emails. If this happens the tutorial support unit will probably just refer you to the appropriate answers that have already been provided within previous emails.
* If you lose your tutorial support email records you can write to Appleton Greene to receive a copy of your tutorial support file, but a separate administration charge may be levied for this service.
Your Certified Learning Provider (CLP) and Accredited Consultant can help you to plan a task list for getting started so that you can be clear about your direction and your priorities in relation to your training program. It is also a good way to introduce yourself to the tutorial support team.
Planning your study environment
Your study conditions are of great importance and will have a direct effect on how much you enjoy your training program. Consider how much space you will have, whether it is comfortable and private and whether you are likely to be disturbed. The study tools and facilities at your disposal are also important to the success of your distance-learning experience. Your tutorial support unit can help with useful tips and guidance, regardless of your starting position. It is important to get this right before you start working on your training program.
Planning your program objectives
It is important that you have a clear list of study objectives, in order of priority, before you start working on your training program. Your tutorial support unit can offer assistance here to ensure that your study objectives have been afforded due consideration and priority.
Planning how and when to study
Distance-learners are freed from the necessity of attending regular classes, since they can study in their own way, at their own pace and for their own purposes. This approach is designed to let you study efficiently away from the traditional classroom environment. It is important however, that you plan how and when to study, so that you are making the most of your natural attributes, strengths and opportunities. Your tutorial support unit can offer assistance and useful tips to ensure that you are playing to your strengths.
Planning your study tasks
You should have a clear understanding of the study tasks that you should be undertaking and the priority associated with each task. These tasks should also be integrated with your program objectives. The distance learning guide and the guide to tutorial support for students should help you here, but if you need any clarification or assistance, please contact your tutorial support unit.
Planning your time
You will need to allocate specific times during your calendar when you intend to study if you are to have a realistic chance of completing your program on time. You are responsible for planning and managing your own study time, so it is important that you are successful with this. Your tutorial support unit can help you with this if your time plan is not working.
Keeping in touch
Consistency is the key here. If you communicate too frequently in short bursts, or too infrequently with no pattern, then your management ability with your studies will be questioned, both by you and by your tutorial support unit. It is obvious when a student is in control and when one is not and this will depend how able you are at sticking with your study plan. Inconsistency invariably leads to in-completion.
Charting your progress
Your tutorial support team can help you to chart your own study progress. Refer to your distance learning guide for further details.
Making it work
To succeed, all that you will need to do is apply yourself to undertaking your training program and interpreting it correctly. Success or failure lies in your hands and your hands alone, so be sure that you have a strategy for making it work. Your Certified Learning Provider (CLP) and Accredited Consultant can guide you through the process of program planning, development and implementation.
Interpretation is often unique to the individual but it can be improved and even quantified by implementing consistent interpretation methods. Interpretation can be affected by outside interference such as family members, TV, or the Internet, or simply by other thoughts which are demanding priority in our minds. One thing that can improve our productivity is using recognized reading methods. This helps us to focus and to be more structured when reading information for reasons of importance, rather than relaxation.
When reading through course manuals for the first time, subconsciously set your reading speed to be just fast enough that you cannot dwell on individual words or tables. With practice, you should be able to read an A4 sheet of paper in one minute. You will not achieve much in the way of a detailed understanding, but your brain will retain a useful overview. This overview will be important later on and will enable you to keep individual issues in perspective with a more generic picture because speed reading appeals to the memory part of the brain. Do not worry about what you do or do not remember at this stage.
Once you have speed read everything, you can then start work in earnest. You now need to read a particular section of your course manual thoroughly, by making detailed notes while you read. This process is called Content Reading and it will help to consolidate your understanding and interpretation of the information that has been provided.
Making structured notes on the course manuals
When you are content reading, you should be making detailed notes, which are both structured and informative. Make these notes in a MS Word document on your computer, because you can then amend and update these as and when you deem it to be necessary. List your notes under three headings: 1. Interpretation – 2. Questions – 3. Tasks. The purpose of the 1st section is to clarify your interpretation by writing it down. The purpose of the 2nd section is to list any questions that the issue raises for you. The purpose of the 3rd section is to list any tasks that you should undertake as a result. Anyone who has graduated with a business-related degree should already be familiar with this process.
Organizing structured notes separately
You should then transfer your notes to a separate study notebook, preferably one that enables easy referencing, such as a MS Word Document, a MS Excel Spreadsheet, a MS Access Database, or a personal organizer on your cell phone. Transferring your notes allows you to have the opportunity of cross-checking and verifying them, which assists considerably with understanding and interpretation. You will also find that the better you are at doing this, the more chance you will have of ensuring that you achieve your study objectives.
Question your understanding
Do challenge your understanding. Explain things to yourself in your own words by writing things down.
Clarifying your understanding
If you are at all unsure, forward an email to your tutorial support unit and they will help to clarify your understanding.
Question your interpretation
Do challenge your interpretation. Qualify your interpretation by writing it down.
Clarifying your interpretation
If you are at all unsure, forward an email to your tutorial support unit and they will help to clarify your interpretation.
The student will need to successfully complete the project study and all of the exercises relating to the Market Validation corporate training program, achieving a pass with merit or distinction in each case, in order to qualify as an Accredited Market Validation Specialist (AMVS). All monthly workshops need to be tried and tested within your company. These project studies can be completed in your own time and at your own pace and in the comfort of your own home or office. There are no formal examinations, assessment is based upon the successful completion of the project studies. They are called project studies because, unlike case studies, these projects are not theoretical, they incorporate real program processes that need to be properly researched and developed. The project studies assist us in measuring your understanding and interpretation of the training program and enable us to assess qualification merits. All of the project studies are based entirely upon the content within the training program and they enable you to integrate what you have learnt into your corporate training practice.
Market Validation – Grading Contribution
Project Study – Grading Contribution
Customer Service – 10%
E-business – 05%
Finance – 10%
Globalization – 10%
Human Resources – 10%
Information Technology – 10%
Legal – 05%
Management – 10%
Marketing – 10%
Production – 10%
Education – 05%
Logistics – 05%
TOTAL GRADING – 100%
A mark of 90% = Pass with Distinction.
A mark of 75% = Pass with Merit.
A mark of less than 75% = Fail.
If you fail to achieve a mark of 75% with a project study, you will receive detailed feedback from the Certified Learning Provider (CLP) and/or Accredited Consultant, together with a list of tasks which you will need to complete, in order to ensure that your project study meets with the minimum quality standard that is required by Appleton Greene. You can then re-submit your project study for further evaluation and assessment. Indeed you can re-submit as many drafts of your project studies as you need to, until such a time as they eventually meet with the required standard by Appleton Greene, so you need not worry about this, it is all part of the learning process.
When marking project studies, Appleton Greene is looking for sufficient evidence of the following:
Pass with merit
A satisfactory level of program understanding
A satisfactory level of program interpretation
A satisfactory level of project study content presentation
A satisfactory level of Unique Program Proposition (UPP) quality
A satisfactory level of the practical integration of academic theory
Pass with distinction
An exceptional level of program understanding
An exceptional level of program interpretation
An exceptional level of project study content presentation
An exceptional level of Unique Program Proposition (UPP) quality
An exceptional level of the practical integration of academic theory
If I were preparing for my second Market Validation Program Workshop, I would look in the mirror and ask myself, what did I get out of day one and what more can I get out of day 2? How can I find out more about the day 2 subject matter? The answer of course is in the course materials for the day 2 workshop, so you can access this here and learn what you need to.
Day two is another great opportunity, a chance to step out again with your colleagues, shed conventional wisdom, look at your target markets in a new and different way, and potentially hit your revenue number out of the park. It may be a lot of work but you will realize the tangible impact.
As with workshop #1, it really comes down to your positive attitude. The right attitude will prevail, given that any adult in a position of responsibility in their business has the ability to apply the simple concepts we cover. The caveat is that the concepts are simple but the application of them can be challenging, which is where a skilled facilitator, mentor and Certified Learning Provider come in. I have mentored talented people through a one-on-one version of MVP, wrote their Go-to-Market Plan for them, then facilitated their participation in a group MVP, finally worked with them as a consultant to apply the core concepts, and it has still been a challenge that has taken them years to master. We also have co-facilitators and sponsors who have attended the Program countless number of times, in some cases a few times a year for more than a decade, and every time they complete another Program, they attest to the group that they were “blown away” by how much they learned. What more need we say.
Armed with this positive attitude, each participant can then simply follow the course manual by referencing pre-work for Day 2, which includes pre-reading, videos and workbook exercises, as follows:
Theme: Defining Market Type and Innovation Level
Open your WORKBOOK folder and see Pre-Work for Day 2 Workshop.
This contains necessary worksheets to complete the day 2 module.
(note: these were also provided prior to day 1 & can be read if the participant has not yet read them or re-read if the participant wishes to do so)
• 4 Steps to the Epiphany
• Crossing the Chasm
• Made to Stick
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES for START-UPS
– open this folder for these video links:
• Why Accountants Don’t Run Start-Ups – Steven Blank
• Lean Startup Summary
In the workbook, participants are asked to describe the source of their innovation, both from a technological and a marketing perspective, and to hypothesize on why this matters to their customers or prospective customers. They are also asked to hypothesize on their market type, to the extent they can based on the Steve Blank reading in The Four Steps to the Epiphany. Note that this pre-work is essentially the same as the exercises they will be asked to complete in the second workshop. And they will be asked to do this again in their post-work. So, they get three kicks at the can. Arguably, any one of these versions is the most valuable – the pre-work version shows what they know before they get peer, mentor and facilitator input, the in-workshop version incorporates the feedback of others, and the post-work version has the benefit of reflection and the participant’s sense of finalizing their work. This final version is also cut and pasted in to their first draft Go-to-Market Plan – the key deliverable for every module of the Market Validation Program.
Of all the pre-work, the most essential is the Steve Blank reading from his book, The Four Steps to the Epiphany , partially excerpted here for your ease of reference:
‘Preface – The Hero’s Journey
‘A legendary hero is usually the founder of something—the founder of a new age, the founder of a new religion, the founder of a new city, the founder of a new way of life. In order to found something new, one has to leave the old and go on a quest of the seed idea, a germinal idea that will have the potential of bringing forth that new thing.’
— Joseph Campbell, Hero with a Thousand Faces
Joseph Campbell popularized the notion of an archetypal journey that recurs in the mythologies and religions of cultures around the world. From Moses and the burning bush to Luke Skywalker meeting Obi wan Kenobi, the journey always begins with a hero who hears a calling to a quest. At the outset of the voyage, the path is unclear, and the end is not in sight. Each hero meets a unique set of obstacles, yet Campbell’s keen insight was that the outline of these stories was always the same. There were not a thousand different heroes, but one hero with a thousand faces.
The hero’s journey is an apt way to think of startups. All new companies and new products begin with an almost mythological vision–a hope of what could be, with a goal that few others can see. It’s this bright and burning vision that differentiates the entrepreneur from big company CEOs and startups from existing businesses. Founding entrepreneurs are out to prove that their vision and business are real and not some hallucination; to succeed they must abandon the status quo and strike out on what appears to be a new path, often shrouded in uncertainty. Obstacles, hardships and disaster lie ahead, and their journey to success tests more than financial resources. It tests their stamina, agility, and the limits of courage.
Most entrepreneurs feel their journey is unique. Yet what Campbell perceived about the mythological hero’s journey is true of startups as well: however dissimilar the stories may be in detail; their outline is always the same. Most entrepreneurs travel down the startup path without a roadmap and believe that no model or template could apply to their new venture. They are wrong. For the path of a startup is well worn, and well understood. The secret is that no one has written it down.
Those of us who are serial entrepreneurs have followed our own hero’s journey and taken employees and investors with us. Along the way we’ve done things our own way; taking good advice, bad advice, and no advice. On about the fifth or sixth startup, at least some of us began to recognize that there was an emerging pattern between our successes and failures. Namely, that there is a true and repeatable path to success, a path that eliminates or mitigates the most egregious risks and allows the company to grow into a large, successful enterprise. One of us decided to chart this path in the following pages.’
The Market Validation Program is designed to help you set your compass, chart your course, and follow a more predictable path to market, whether your opportunity is a startup, a new product in an established company, or a new division in a growing corporation. Welcome to your journey. Mr. Blank goes on to introduce his Customer Development Model, which is the focus of this book. We will cover his Customer Development Model in detail in subsequent workshops. For the second workshop, the following excerpt from Chapter 1 – the Product Development Model – is essential reading:
“Not All Startups Are Alike
A fundamental truth about startups that is completely ignored in the product development model is that they are not all alike. One of the radical insights that guides this book is that startups fall into one of four basic categories:
• Bringing a new product into an existing market
• Bringing a new product into a new market
• Bringing a new product into an existing market and trying to resegment that market as a low-cost entrant
• Bringing a new product into an existing market and trying to resegment that market as a niche entrant
These differences will be developed in more detail in subsequent chapters. What’s important to know now is that the traditional product development model at times succeeds in getting a product out the door into a known market with known customers (choice 1). Executing past practices in this Market Type may work if the market is similar to past experiences. However, since the majority of startups are not going after known markets (falling into the second and third categories), they don’t have a clue where their customers are.
Webvan fell into the fourth category of startup—one that was bringing a new product (online grocery ordering and same day delivery) into an existing market (the grocery business), and trying to create a niche of that market. One could even make the argument that Webvan’s idea was so radical that the company fell into the second category of startups – bringing a new product into a completely new market. In either case, Webvan’s ability to predict customer acceptance and widespread usage was not based on any facts, just untested business plan hypotheses. (Modeling customer adoption rates using traditional quantitative models like Bass Curve are impossible at first customer ship for category 2 and 3 companies. There aren’t sufficient initial sales data to make valid sales predictions.) Here’s the point. Since the four types of startups have very different rates of customer adoption and acceptance, their sales and marketing strategies differ dramatically. Even more serious, is that each Market Type have radically different cash needs. A company creating a new market might be unprofitable for 5 or more years, while one in an existing market might be generating cash in 12-18 months. As a result, the product development model is not only useless, it is dangerous. It tells the finance, marketing and sales teams nothing about how to uniquely describe and sell for each type of startup, nor how to predict the resources needed for success.”
“THE FOUR TYPES OF STARTUP MARKETS
Since time immemorial a post mortem of a failed company usually includes, “I don’t understand what happened. We did everything that worked in our last startup.” The failure isn’t due to lack of energy, effort or passion. It may simply be due to not understanding that there are four types of startups , and each of them have a very different set of requirements to succeed:
• Startups that are entering an existing market
• Startups that are creating an entirely new market
• Startups that want to resegment an existing market as a low-cost entrant
• Startups that want to resegment an existing market as a niche player
(“Disruptive” and “sustaining” innovations, eloquently described by Clayton Christensen, are another way to describe new and existing Market Types.)
As I pointed out in Chapter 1, thinking and acting as if all startups are the same is a strategic error. It is a fallacy to believe that the strategy and tactics that worked for one startup should be appropriate in another. That’s because Market Type changes everything a company does.
As an example, imagine it’s October 1999 and you are Donna Dubinsky the CEO of a feisty new startup, Handspring, in the billion-dollar Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) market. Other companies in the 1999 PDA market were Palm, the original innovator, as well Microsoft and Hewlett Packard. In October 1999 Donna told her VP of Sales, “In the next 12 months I want Handspring to win 20% of the Personal Digital Assistant market.” The VP of Sales swallowed hard and turned to the VP of Marketing and said, “I need you to take end user demand away from our competitors and drive it into our sales channel.” The VP of Marketing looked at all the other PDA’s on the market and differentiated Handspring’s product by emphasizing expandability and performance. End result? After twelve months Handsprings revenue was $170 million. This was possible because in 1999 Donna and Handspring were in an existing market. Handspring’s customers understood what a Personal Digital Assistant was. Handspring did not have to educate them about the market, just why their new product was better than the competition – and they did it brilliantly.
What makes this example really interesting is this: rewind the story 3 years earlier to 1996. Before Handspring, Donna and her team had founded Palm Computing, the pioneer in Personal Digital Assistants. Before Palm arrived on the scene the Personal Digital Assistant market did not exist. (A few failed science experiments like Apple’s Newton had come and gone.) But imagine if Donna had turned to her VP of Sales at Palm in 1996 and said, “I want to get 20% of the Personal Digital Assistant market by the end of our first year.” Her VP of Sales might had turned to the VP of Marketing and said, “I want you to drive end user demand from our competitors into our sales channel.” The VP of Marketing might have said, “Let’s tell everyone about how fast the Palm Personal Digital Assistant is.” If they had done this there would have been zero dollars in sales. In 1996 no potential customer had even heard of a Personal Digital Assistant. No one knew what a PDA could do, there was no latent demand from end users, and emphasizing its technical features would have been irrelevant. What Palm needed to do was educate potential customers about what a PDA could do for them. By our definition, (a product that allows users to do something they couldn’t do before) Palm in 1996 created a new market. In contrast, Handspring in 1999 was in an existing market.
The lesson is that even with essentially identical products and team, Handspring would have failed if it had used the same sales and marketing strategy previously used successfully at Palm. And the converse is true; Palm would have failed, burning through all their cash, using Handspring’s strategy. Market Type changes everything.
Market Type changes how you evaluate customer needs, customer adoption rate, how the customer understands his needs and how you would position the product to the customer. Market Type also changes the market size, as well as how you launch the product into the market. Table 2.1
points out what’s different.
We add a fifth market type – Clone – which is literally a clone of a business that exists elsewhere, such as Baidu is the Chinese clone of Google.
Before any sales or marketing activities can begin, a company must keep testing and asking, “What kind of a startup are we?” To see why, consider the four possible “Market Types.”
A New Product in an Existing Market
An existing market is pretty easy to understand. We say you are in an existing market if your product offers higher performance than what is currently offered. Higher performance can be a product or service that runs faster, does something better or substantially improves on what is already on the market. The good news is that the users and the market are known, but so are the competitors. In fact, the competitors define the market. The basis of competition is therefore all about the product and product features.
You can enter an existing market with a cheaper or repositioned “niche” product, but if that is the case, we call that a resegmented market.
A New Product in a New Market
Another possibility is to introduce a new product into a new market. What’s a new market? It’s what happens when a company creates a large customer base who couldn’t do something before because of true innovation creating something never existed before, or dramatically lower cost that creates a new class of users. Or the new product solves availability, skill, convenience, or location issues in a way no other product has. Compaq’s first portable computers allowed business executives to take their computers with them, something simply impossible previously. Compaq created a new market, the portable computer market. With Quicken, Intuit offered people a way to manage their finances on their personal computers, automating check writing, maintaining a check register and reconciling monthly balances; things that most people hated to do and few could do well. In doing so, Intuit created the home accounting market. (By “created the market” I do not mean “first-to-market;” I mean the company whose market share and ubiquity are associated with the market.)
In a new market the good news is that your product features are at first irrelevant because there are no competitors (except other pesky startups). The bad news is that the users and the market are undefined and unknown. If you’re creating a new market, your problem isn’t how to compete with other companies on product features but how to convince a set of customers that your vision is not a hallucination. Creating a new market requires understanding whether there is a large customer base who couldn’t do this before, whether these customers can be convinced that they want or need your new product, and whether customer adoption occurs in your lifetime. It also requires rather sophisticated thinking about financing – how you manage the cash burn rate during the adoption phase, and how you manage and find investors who are patient and have deep pockets
A New Product Attempting to Resegment an Existing Market: Low Cost
Over half of startups pursue the hybrid course of attempting to introduce a new product that resegments an existing market. Resegmenting an existing market can take two forms: a low-cost strategy or a niche strategy. (By the way, segmentation is not the same as differentiation. Segmentation means that you’ve picked a clear and distinct spot in customers’ minds that is unique, understandable, and, most important, concerns something they value and want and need now.)
Low-cost resegmentation is just what it sounds like – are there customers at the low-end of an existing marketing who will buy “good enough” performance if they could get it at a substantially lower price? If you truly can be a low cost (and profitable) provider, entering existing markets at this end is fun, as incumbent companies tend to abandon low-margin businesses and head up-market.
A New Product Attempting to Resegment an Existing Market: Niche
Niche resegmentation is slightly different. It looks at an existing market and asks, “Would some part of this market buy a new product designed to address their specific needs? Even if it cost more? Or worse performance in an aspect of the product irrelevant to this niche. Niche resegmentation attempts to convince customers that some characteristic of the new product is radical enough to change the rules and shape of an existing market. Unlike low-cost resegmentation, niche goes after the core of an existing market’s profitable business.
Both cases of resegmenting a market reframe how people think about the products within an existing market. In-n-Out Burger is a classic case of resegmenting an existing market. Who would have thought that a new fast-food chain (now with 200 company owned stores) could be a successful entrant after McDonalds and Burger King owned the market? Yet In-n-Out succeeded by simply observing that the incumbent players had strayed from their original concept of a hamburger chain. By 2001 McDonald’s had over 55 menu items and not one of them tasted particularly great. In stark contrast, In-n-Out offered three items: all fresh, high quality and great tasting. They focused on the core fast food segment that wanted high quality hamburgers and nothing else.
While resegmenting an existing market is the most common Market Type choice of new startups, it’s also the trickiest. As a low-end resegmentation strategy, it needs a long-term product plan that uses low cost as market entry to eventual profitability and up-market growth. As a niche resegmentation, this strategy faces entrenched competitors who will fiercely defend their profitable markets. And both require adroit and agile positioning of how the new product redefines the market.
Market Type and the Customer Development Process
As a company follows the Customer Development process the importance of Market Type grows in each step. During the first step, Customer Discovery, all startups, regardless of Market Type, leave he building and talk to customers. In Customer Validation, the differences between type of startup emerge as sales and positioning strategies diverge rapidly. By Customer Creation, the third step, the difference between startup Market Types is acute as customer acquisition and sales strategy differ dramatically between the types of markets. It is in Customer Creation that startups who do not understand Market Type spend themselves out of business. Chapter 5, Customer Creation, highlights these potential landmines.
The speed with which a company moves through the Customer Development process also depends on Market Type. Even if you quit your old job on Friday and on Monday joined a startup in an existing market producing the same but better product, you still need to answer these questions. His process ought to be a snap, and can be accomplished in a matter of weeks or months.
In contrast, a company creating a new market has an open-ended set of questions. Completing he Customer Development processes may take a year or two or even longer.
Table 2.2 sums up the differences between the four Market Types. As you’ll see, the Customer Development model provides an explicit methodology for answering the question “What kind of startup are we?” It’s a question you’ll keep coming back to in each of the four steps. (see attached PDF & JPEG)
The following Blog summarizes a way to think about levels of innovation, the other major concept covered in workshop #2:
“There are three ascending tiers of innovation that you can pursue. The level you choose will dictate the simplicity or complexity of the journey you will undertake. Unfortunately, far too many companies expect to achieve the highest levels of innovation while only providing the strategy, tools, and support for lower-level success, at best. The three levels are:
1. Incremental Innovation. This consists of small, yet meaningful improvements in your products, services, and other ways in which you do business. These tend to be the “new and improved” innovations we are all bombarded with every day: new flavors, shifts to better or all-natural ingredients, packaging improvements, faster/slower functioning, just-in-time supply chain enhancements, bigger/smaller sizing, cost reductions, heavier/lighter weight. We see them every day and they help extend product, service, and business life cycles and improve profitability. They can be easily visualized and quickly communicated and give you something new with which to grab consumer attention in an increasingly noisy marketplace.
2. Breakthrough Innovation. This is a meaningful change in the way you do business that gives consumers something demonstrably new (beyond “new and improved”). Breakthrough innovation produces a substantial competitive edge for a while, although the length of time anyone can maintain such an advantage is growing increasingly shorter.
3. Transformational Innovation. This is usually (but not always) the introduction of a technology that creates a new industry and transforms the way we live and work. This kind of innovation often eliminates existing industries or, at a minimum, totally transforms them. For this reason, transformational innovations tend to be championed by those who aren’t wedded to an existing infrastructure. Transformational innovation is exceedingly rare. Think about it: how many truly new-to-the-world ideas happen in a year? In a lifetime? Not many!
Yet, in some ways, transformational innovation is easier to pursue because the change required to achieve it usually doesn’t rely on an existing entity that is committed to the old way of doing things. That’s why we often find transformational innovation coming from start-up companies. But no company can survive by pursuing only transformational innovation.
There are benefits and problems associated with focusing your efforts on any type of innovation. Incremental innovation is the oil that keeps the engine running, but it cannot be your only focus. You can only grow your business so much by adding aloe as an ingredient or offering a different color. Breakthrough innovation is expensive, messy and uncomfortable but it is becoming increasingly necessary to pursue if you want to remain relevant. Gambling on transformational innovation alone is too risky. Go ahead and try to hit those home runs, but remember the importance of having a high batting average too. You just can’t afford to make any one type of innovation the sum of your innovation strategy.” (see Levels of Innovation Graphic in PDF & JPEG)
In the words of our esteemed Appleton Greene professor and advisor, Dr. John Walters, process mapping is literally mapping your process, using a flow chart or otherwise illustrating your process in a snapshot, or otherwise mapping your process with the verbal equivalent of a flow chart. Our process is well mapped, oft repeated and validated as follows:
It really is as simple as the above simplified flow-cart illustrates. Each pre-work breaks down further:
Similarly, each workshop has three requisite elements, as follows:
Power Point presentation>>>Participant exercises>>>Group discussion and feedback
Finally, following each workshop, all participants are required to participate in the post-workshop process, as follows:
Perhaps more importantly than the process flow of the Program, is the process that participants are taught to validate their market. The essence of this is three-fold: 1) Create the go-to-market hypotheses, 2) Test, validate or modify these hypotheses through customer discovery, minimum viable product testing, and ultimately the business model, 3) Finalize the draft Go-to-Market Plan, which includes the findings from the hypothesis creation, testing and validation process. This GTM Plan becomes a living document that is routinely updated as more is learned about the market. It informs investor presentations, customer pitches, business and operating plans, and the day-to-day sales and marketing activities.
Process Mapping of Exercises
As illustrated in the preceding flow-charts, with pre-work, workshop work, and post-work. In summary, each workshop is preceded by a pre-work participant package that includes a work book, readings and videos. During each workshop, each concept is reviewed in a Power Point presentation and concludes with an exercise or exercises, mostly individual but sometimes as a group. Following each exercise there is a group question, answer and discussion session. At the end of each workshop, participants are assigned home work, in a similar format to the pre-work: work book, readings and videos. Participants are expected to complete these assignments within two weeks of the workshop and to review these completed assignments with their mentor, which may lead to rework. The remaining two weeks before the next workshop are allocated to the pre-work process.
One important final comment: there is an overarching process to all of the completed exercises, which is that once they are in final draft, they need to be inputted or cut and pasted in to the Market Validation Program format for participant’s Go-to-Market Plan, which is the key deliverable that each participant or company must properly complete by the end of the Program. We have four milestones for the GTM Plan – at the first workshop the Plan is introduced, the word template is provided and an example is circulated for participant review. At the 8-month workshop, the Plan is reviewed to illustrate that approximately one-third of it should now be completed and following the 8th workshop, each participant must review their progress with their mentor. This process is repeated at workshop #16 and again at the end of the Program, when the participants must present their final draft Go-to-Market Plan. We will need to determine what this looks like for one department and one company attending the Program – they may only have one shared document to present. In other manifestations of the Program, we have had many companies participate and many GTM Plans to review, which worked quite seamlessly by making this the primary responsibility of the mentor assigned to that company. Our Program processes are flexible and designed to accommodate most any situation, whether many company participants, many departmental participants, or many participants from a single department.
Note that the Program process in Workshop #2 is essentially the same as that in Workshop #1 and will be virtually the same in Workshops #3 – 24, because that is how the Program is designed. In other words, every workshop, including workshop #2, has pre-work, workshop work and post-work. What changes is the content provided in each workshop, in this workshop #2, Market Type and Innovation Level, and some related concepts, are the content for the workshop.
Course manuals for process analysis
Process analysis in the context of the Market Validation Program is an internal analysis of the participant’s department or company, at a high level initially, but ultimately going quite deep over the course of the entire Program. We ask these questions: What are you doing currently? What works? What does not work? What does market validation mean to you today? How do you think validation of your market happens in your company? When you completed the pre-work work book in advance of the first workshop, what did you learn about yourself, your department and/or company, and where you are in the process of market validation? Do you feel there is a lot for you to learn or just a little? Are we fine tuning or making a major course correction?
The manuals already described – work books, readings, videos, presentations and exercises, are all designed to facilitate process analysis and to help participants better understand their current situation. Later in the Program, we ask participants to complete a current situation assessment checklist and to describe in their own words where they have organizational deficiencies, or not.
In this second (2nd.) workshop, we also cover this in their innovation back story, the nature of their technology and market innovations, what type of market they are playing in, and the ramifications of same. Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, participants rarely if ever have the immediate answers for these topics, or if they do, they are most likely to get it wrong. For example, many participants think they have very high levels of market and technical innovation, and that they are creating a new market. Upon further edification they learn that none of this is correct. For example, we had a digital optics start-up creating what they thought was a new market with a highly innovative solution. A simple Google search proved otherwise – the market existed, was at least a few years old, and currently a house-hold and industry established brand player dominated, at a fraction of the price of our unknown start-up. Their technology was moderately innovative, but their marketing approach was not. Knowing this, over time they developed a more innovative market strategy, including a way to tell their technology innovation story in a compelling manner in the words of their highly sophisticated clinical target market, and a pricing strategy that would support market entry. Without struggling through these day two exercises and eventually wrestling them to the ground, they would not today be the success that they are.
Course exercises for process analysis
The pre-work work book for this 2nd. workshop specifically addresses a process analysis of the company and/or department. We anticipate that in large companies’ there may be multiple departments – sales, marketing, sales support, product engineering, and senior executives who attend. This may include front-line sales or customer service personnel, sales managers or directors, and sales or marketing executives at the vice-presidential level. In small start-ups we may only have the founders – perhaps the Chief Executive Officer, Chief Technology Officer and if they are there yet, a Chief Marketing Officer. In medium sized companies they may be somewhere in between in terms of their senior sales and marketing people.
Course manuals for process re-design
This is really the secret sauce of the Program, which is designed to slowly but surely re-design the participant’s company sales and marketing processes. The manual for this is all what has been set out in the flow charts. Each work book, each reading, each video, each presentation and each exercise helps to re-educate and enlighten participants with a new and better way to approach their Go-to-Market Plans. What we have discovered over many years, scores of Programs, hundreds of participants and over a hundred companies from diverse industries, is that many if not most really do not yet know what they do not know about how to effectively get their product to market. Many of them are not even guessing – they just do not know. In start-ups, this is often due to a pre-occupation with patents, product design and development, and ignorance about sales and marketing. This manifests itself in the second workshop in the struggles most, if not all, participants face when addressing something as conceptually simple as their market type and innovation level. They simply do not know because they have never thought about it before. Asking them what their market type is may be like someone asking me what type of source code I prefer in my software. I am not a software person, nor do I have a clue nor would I care what type of source code is used. But the difference is, as participants learn in Workshop #2, that really understanding market type and innovation level matters hugely to their future success.
Course exercises for process re-design
Perhaps it may be easiest and most effective here just to refer readers to the WDP1 section of this website, which provides an illustrative example. All of the course materials are available online and in hard-copy in readable accessible formats – Word, PDF, Power Point.
Course manuals for process resources
We challenge participants to really think about the many ways they are actually resource constrained. We provide a simple three-way trade-off between time, money and other resources – people, tooling, equipment, bricks and mortar, etc. In the life sciences industry, these constraints can be enormous, since even simple Class 2 medical devices today typically take 3- 6 years and $10+ million to move from idea to commercialization stage. For start-ups, the message that they should expect at least 18-24 months and more than one million dollars, even for a simple, safe Class 1 medical device that meets an unmet clinical need, is daunting to say the least. So, we work with our participants and get them to prioritize – what absolutely must get done in the next 30 days or the next quarter or the wheels will fall off your business? What resources are required, in terms of people, time and money? Do you have those resources and if not, then how will you get them?
In WDP#2, we help participants appreciate how new markets and high levels of innovation require big budgets, long timelines, and a huge tolerance for high risk – by the employees, leaders and investors.
We provide real life examples and illustrate them to prove our points. Once everyone gets the day 2 concepts of market type and innovation level, we move on to the exercises.
In summary, here is the Microsoft Word version of the Power Point slide content provided in workshop day two, along with the talking points and examples:
Appleton Greene & Co. Market Validation Program Workshop Day Two/Month Two
Please note – as you review these market types, think which best applies to your business opportunity and know that:
“Market type changes everything – each type has very different requirements for success.” Steve Blank, The Four Steps to the Epiphany
Broadly, we are looking at five different market types:
2. Existing; or re-segmented existing – either:
3. Low cost; or
4. Premium priced; or
5. New market
Clone or copy of another market business model.
Clone Market Examples
Baidu – Chinese clone of Google
“By-do” is the Chinese clone of Google. Other examples include Shoes.com, the Canadian clone of Zappos. Baidu was established in 2000 by Harvard educated Chinese nationals. It now enjoys 76% market share in China, the world’s fastest growing and soon to be largest market. Baidu is adapted to the needs of its target market, but otherwise appears to be a beautiful copy of Google. The Chinese regulations that prevented Google from entering China provide the opportunity for Baidu to appear as its clone.
Existing Market Description and Example – Internet browsers
• Explorer – Firefox – Safari – Chrome
In existing markets, new entrants need some incremental advantage to allow them to compete directly with established players. Their claim may be better, faster, easier or more aligned with what you want. Think about choosing an Internet browser. If you are an Apple user, you likely use Chrome. If you are a Microsoft user, likely Explorer or Edge. If you are bullish on Google, you may use Chrome. Firefox may have its own following, although they are somewhat dated.
Re-segmented – Existing Market – Premium priced
Premium priced, high value and brand-driven
Brand-driven examples: Leica camera, Rolex watch
These high-end products may cost 1 or 2 orders of magnitude more than what you may pay to buy a camera or a watch. These examples are also known as luxury goods that require really big advertising spends. A startup needs to understand and budget for this.
Re-segmented – Existing Market – Lower cost & Value driven
Lower cost & lower price and value-driven
Lower cost & Value driven Examples
Photoshop Elements (PSE) versus Photoshop
Open Office versus Microsoft Office
Silent Witness (SW) versus Extreme CCTV
In these examples, Open Office is free whereas the established competitor (Microsoft Office) costs about $700. PSE sells for $85 against Photoshop for $700. Silent Witness and Extreme CCTV have a bit of a story: Silent Witness was first to market, as described below. Then Extreme came along and built a lower quality more affordable product. They succeeded because their product met a segmented existing market need with architects that was better than the existing SW product. SW was selling their existing high-end product to that market segment by default and did not understand their vulnerability. If they had reacted more quickly to Extreme’s market entry or built a more effective lower-end product for that segment, then they would not have lost that segment of the market. Ultimately, it worked out OK for each of them, with SW sold to Honeywell and Extreme sold to Bosch.
Inventor of mini-dome security camera format
Initial market – schools, prisons – Vandal Resistant requirement
Product also sold into other markets which became significant – Architectural
Later entrant into camera market
Targeted non-Vandal Resistant markets – resulted in lower cost product
Cheaper or good enough can create a new class of product & customer
Innovative – never existed before
Beware of the ‘Chasm’ (from Geoffrey Moore’s “Crossing the Chasm”)
New markets are best understood with the concept of disruption. Using the new product in the new market requires customers to change their behavior. In other words, it is disruptive. For example, Uber was at the time they launched a new market, because it required users to download their app and order cars through the app, unlike hailing a cab curbside. It also requires customers to accept variable rather than fixed pricing, billed by the app to their phone without a printed receipt.
New Market Examples
AirBnB – “virtual hotels” using residential properties
Uber – “virtual taxis” using private cars and non-professional drivers
Type of Market changes everything – different market types require dramatically different sales and marketing strategies.
The Big Question for each Market Type
Test your market type assumption or hypothesis by answering these qualifying questions:
Does the business model work here?
How will we win against existing competitors?
Re-segmented – Existing Market
Where will our customers come from / who will we take them from?
How will we convince early adopters to believe in our vision?
The Key Implication is Risk – each market type entails risk; however, the type and size of this risk is different for each market type. Generally, existing markets entail less risk and new markets entail more risk.
Market Type: Differences in characteristics – also answer these questions to further validate your market type hypothesis
Differentiating between Existing & New Markets
• Have customers heard about this market? Can we compare it to existing products by some method and win due to differentiation?
• Do customers understand how they would use / need this product?
• Does the product have to be “pushed” into the market via education and evangelism? Or will customers ‘get it’ and they will “pull” the product from us if we position it next to existing choices?
Characteristics of a Re-segmented Market
• Value-driven re-segmentation there are customers at the low-end of an existing market who will buy “good enough” performance if it’s available at a low price
• Brand-driven re-segmentation there are enough customers who will buy a new product because some characteristic is “radical enough” to change the shape and rules of an existing market
Exercise #1 – Market Type ~ 5 Minutes
What type of startup, or business opportunity, are you building?
• One that clones something done successfully in another market?
• One that is entering an existing market?
• One that is creating an entirely new market?
• One that wants to re-segment an existing market as a value-driven entrant?
• One that wants to re-segment an existing market as a brand-driven player?
What is your market type hypothesis based on? We will chart your responses in the actual workshop.
• Where did your innovation come from? What’s your back story?
• What is the nature of the innovation?
• Are you changing the way the market operates?
• Bringing a new or repurposed technology to solve a problem?
• What is your unfair competitive advantage?
Innovation Source – Market Innovation
• What is the source of your market innovation? Is it based on timing – catching a trend or exploiting a change in regulations? Are you pursuing market arbitrage or a better business model execution? A more innovative pricing strategy? Is your market innovation low, medium or high?
Innovation Source – Technology Innovation
• What is the source of your technology innovation? Do you have new materials? New processes or techniques? Fundamentally new breakthrough technology? Repurposed technology? Patents pending? Secret sauce? Magical source code? Is your technology innovation low, medium or high?
Innovation Source – Market and Technology Innovation Chart
Where you land on the chart matters profoundly. If you are in the top right-hand corner – very high market and very high technology innovation, then you will also have very high costs, very long timelines and very high risk to get to market and succeed once you arrive. Alternatively, if you are in the bottom left corner, at the origin, with low innovation on market and technology, then your costs, time and risk may be very low, but how will you compete? You may be viewed as a “me-too” alternative that may not attract customers from your competitors. An example of the former is Tesla upon launch – they entered an existing category that was not doing well and transformed it, due to their high level of market and technology innovation. They positioned their cars at the high end – high automotive performance and high all-electric performance. Today they occupy only 1% of the global automobile market but their market capitalization exceeds that of all their competitors combined. An example of the latter may be a coffee shop that intends to scale through the use of a somewhat limited coffee producing technology and unique look and feel. But at the end of the day, are they really different enough to attract their own customers and keep them? Hard to know until you have done this successfully. Starbucks succeeded where many others have failed. We think their brilliance was primarily in their marketing. Perhaps on launch they were moderately innovative on marketing, with low levels of innovation on technology. We know that they won an intellectual property law suit with a competitor who the court found ripped off their unique look and feel.
Exercise #2 – Innovation Source ~ 15 Minutes
Describe the source of your innovation
Where is the source of your innovation on the innovation chart?
• Low, medium or high on each axis – market and technology
• What are your top three market and technology risks?
• How long will it take you to create your V1 product?
• How long will it be before you have your first customer?
~ 15 Minute Group Exercise
• Present your Market Type and Innovation Source to your peers, mentors, facilitator; get their feedback and revise if appropriate
Course exercises for process resources
The Workshop #2 in-class exercises that are complimented with pre-work and post-work in the relevant work books, are as shown in the Workshop #2 Power Point excerpt, in Word above (exercise 1 on page 42 and exercise 2 on page 43; the unnumbered group exercise is directly above). The criticality of Program time management is an example and a microcosm of how each participant handles their overall time management. If they don’t have time to complete their pre-work and post-work then how much time do they have for their real job? If they don’t use their time in class effectively to complete their exercises, then how time efficient are they at attending to any task? We help draw any observed deficiencies out in class, in a respectful and supportive manner, to help them improve their time management skills, while successfully completing the course requirements.
Course manuals for process communications
Effective communications are a major theme throughout the Program, as they are in Workshop #2. We focus on formal oral communication or what we loosely call “pitching”, informal oral communications in-class when asking participants questions or providing feedback, informal written communications with the exercises, formal written communications with the Go-to-Market Plan, and in the body, facial and verbal communications one-on-one with mentors. An example of this is the group exercise for the 2nd Workshop, as described above. We emphasize that leadership is really all about how we communicate, including how participants share their vision with stakeholders. In a nutshell, a great vision poorly communicated is close to worthless, and inversely, an absurd and useless vision well communicated may be worth something, perhaps even a lot. We illustrate this in the second workshop with the informal presentation of market type and level of innovation described to the mentors, peers and facilitators, by each participant in W/S#2. To sum up, we use every opportunity to reinforce our messaging about the importance of effective communications, lead by example illustrating this throughout, and call upon all participants to do their best, while continually improving, as they communicate their completed exercises in W/S #2 and throughout all 24 workshops. We have turned down many exercises, including W/S #2, because they are not clearly communicated, but we always help participants improve on the rejected exercises.
Course exercises for process communications
We have described this in the section above and have provided the actual exercises for Workshop #2 on pages 39 and 40.
Course manuals for process review
The Program is designed to continually review processes and to check in informally and formally on the progress each participant is making in applying the Program principles. We have Time 0, 8-week, 16-week and 24-week formal review processes. We also follow-up four weeks following the final workshop to determine where participants are at relative to their Go-to-Market Plan. Further, we invite feedback verbally in the workshops and in writing at the end of each workshop, using a standard feedback form, consolidate those results and act on any constructive criticisms. The evaluation form for Workshop #2 is cut and pasted from the Program manual below.
Course exercises for process review
The whole program is designed to be continually reviewed through both formal and informal process review mechanisms, as described above. There are exercises throughout that address this. Additionally, because we end each workshop, including Workshop #2, with open feedback from our entire audience – participants, mentors and anyone else who chooses to participate – everyone hears what people got out of the day, in a positive and constructive way. Any constructive criticisms and rankings of each module, are covered by each participant and mentor in the formal feedback form, which is a daily discipline and exercise to ensure continuous Program improvement.
Market Validation Program Workshop Day 2
PARTICIPANT SATISFACTION SURVEY
INSERT SURVEY IMAGE
1. What is the most valuable thing you learned today?
2. Comments/Feedback/Suggestions for workshop topics etc.
3. Describe how valuable you found the feedback and discussion with your peers:
4. How well did you participate in workshop #2?
5. What might you do better to participate more effectively in workshop #3?
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES: MVP Participants
Video 1: 33 minutes
Why Accountants Don’t Run Start-Ups – Steven Blank (Part 1 of 3) – Workshop #1 – what is a startup?
Video 2: 33 minutes
Why Accountants Don’t Run Start-Ups – Steven Blank (Part 2 of 3) – workshop #2 – market types
https://vimeo.com/17973311 (customer development model introduction)
Video 3: 33 minutes
Why Accountants Don’t Run Start-Ups – Steven Blank (Part 3 of 3) – optional viewing
(end of customer development model and Q & A)
Video 4: 15 minutes
Lean Startup Summary (good 15-minute summary of Eric Ries’ book – optional viewing)
Here we provide the content for the 2nd. Workshop’s Project Study relating to our Process Mapping Course Manual here.
How to prep mentors and attendees
All attendees should go through all the pre-work, workshop day, and post-work for each and every workshop, including workshop day two (WS 2). This section focuses on post-work, since pre-work and workshop day work have been covered in the previous two sections. However, an overview of the entire process is also provided, because it so important to effective delivery of the Program.
Mentors should meet with their companies:
• Ideally two weeks before Day 2 of the Market Validation Program
• After they complete each day’s homework (aka “post-work”) (so about midway between workshop dates) to make sure they understand the work and are on track
• Prior to the next course date to make sure they are prepared and on track (pre-work)
• After they complete the last day’s homework (post-work)
• Mentors should also retain a list of the participants and a short blurb on them to help them prepare for each workshop, especially workshop #2, because more is expected from everyone
1) Prior to each Market Validation Program Workshop
Always send an email to all the participants (companies and mentors) to make sure they have all 24 days of the training blocked off. This should be done as soon as the dates are set and you know who your attendees are.
Each day is from 9:00 AM – 4:00PM with a one-hour lunch break and two 15-minute breaks. Plu