We have had a most interesting path from beginning through customer validation towards lean business models in out project called TDoRe. We are sharing our story in these web pages, you may follow the progress and results during the project.
First Workshop - BEGINNING - November 2016
The first workshop took place in October 2016, with the following objectives:
- Motivate T-DoRe participants to develop their projects and to include a market perspective, explaining the T-DoRe learning itinerary and the learning agreement.
- Introduce some key concepts to T-DoRe participants using the learning by doing approach, as the Lean Startup method, as well as to present the support systems, organizational structure and materials they will have available.
- Make T-DoRe participants aware of the importance of their leadership throughout the entire process and the role that the learning contract plays in this process.
The first part of day 1 put the focus on creating the adequate learning environment among the participants, who did not know each other. There was a welcoming dynamic in order to understand better the participants' background, competences and skills. Also there was a presentation of the whole learning itinerary and the learning platform (Mudle platform) that participants will use to interact.
In the second part of the day the coaches introduced several concepts related to leadership, teamwork, lean start-up and customers. All these concepts were worked in groups and in a practical way. The main idea in these workshops is always to work and discuss together after some individual work, like reading and individual reflection, or after a presentation by the coaches, in order to foster team learning and the creation of their own understanding of the topic. So participants from the beginning worked in groups of three or four people, in this way, also they had the opportunity to know each other better.
The second day was devoted reach a good understanding of how to create value from the knowledge the researchers are generating in their thesis. They used the value proposition and the business model canvas developed by Osterwalder and Pigneur. Participants had the opportunity to start thinking about their value proposition and their potential customers. This was really new for them, because it was the first time they were thinking about the customers and their real needs and problems. Usually research is not driven by a specific user needs.
We also had a dialogue session on Leadership, working in groups co-creating some concepts that made sense for the participants as researchers. So by the end of the morning the atmosphere was more open and we got their connection to the project. High involvement of certain participants helped to enroll the other ones which were more skeptical.
As a summary of this first workshop, the contents were of interest for the participants, and introduced new perspectives in their research work. The idea of going beyond their research to think in potential customers was well received. Researchers think in users, somehow, in an abstract way, they do not have a name or a face, nor the problems are known or validated. Therefore in this process they will have to visit companies, validate hypothesis, test early prototypes, collect feedback, and other kind of actions that will help them to take decisions in their thesis, based not only in the technological progress but also in the market reality.
Also, another strong point highlighted by the participants, was the good learning atmosphere created. The opportunity of interact between researchers from different countries, experience and background was considered very relevant and positive, so they have started this process with high motivation.