We are established business with a hardware or software solution
If your business is at this stage it means that you have met with vLabs and there is an agreement to take things forward. Your business would have signed this Collaboration Agreement as well.
The V-Accelerator Collaboration Program works under agile and design led thinking. Collaboration is done in the labs and the program usually lasts 3 months. Be prepared for loads of post it notes, white boards, lab coats, left field thinking, tons of good coffee and hopefully a commercial project that ‘graduates out of V-Accelerator’
1: Creating the Brief
2: Kick off & team creation
3: The Project Plan
4: Workshop Sessions
5: Capturing the Concept
7: Creating the Pitch
8: Building the Roadmap
9: Commercial & Legal
Creating the Brief
Great briefs achieve great results. Before the project is kicked off, V-Accelerator and the Collaborator need to put together a tight brief that will be used for the rest of the process.
1. The Problem Statement
– Define what you are trying to achieve.
- What will this project be famous for?
– How would you describe the problem that you are trying to solve?
– Why does it matter?
– What research have you collected that helps define the problem?
– Have you done any analysis?
3. Who will be in the Collaboration team?
Make sure that you have the right mix of people in the team from a skills and knowledge perspective. Do not be swayed into only putting technical people on the team. Problems can get solved by engineers, designers, salespeople, baristas or anyone with a creative influence on the brief.
This process cannot be viewed as an extracurricular activity or something to dabble in. Team members need to be invested in the success of the project. V-Accelerator will assign a project lead. The Collaborator will assign a team sponsor. There are three levels of team participation:
1. Core Team
These members are actively involved. They spend a lot of time in the labs. They own the project plan and outputs. They are the chief designers, engineers and architects of the problem.
2. Engaged Team
These are subject matter experts and contribute to the solution. The are not actively involved on a day to day basis and are seen as reviewers of the solution. They are brought in periodically and iterate the solution along the way.
3. Leadership Team
The leadership team are kept informed of the progress of the project. They are the final decision makers. They are invested in the outcome of the project and support the team.
Kick off & team creation
We have a well defined brief so lets kick off. V-Accelerator provides Collaboration projects the perfect environment to foster creativity and idea generation. Don’t be surprised if a robot offers you coffee, a drone hovers above your head or ’be alarmed at’ the sight of smoke coming from a soldering iron.
V-Accelerator provides workbenches where teams can work independently, collaboration spaces and technical lab areas for prototyping and testing. No day is the same. Some days you may have your head down in the coding area, other days may be spent in a lab coat or spent sticking post it notes to walls or white boarding.
There is plenty of creative wall space. The kick off meeting has a well defined agenda and is spent visually mapping out the project.
The kick off session usually takes the following format:
- 10 Minutes – Introduction of the workshop plan.
- 15 Minutes – Team member introductions and roles
- 30 Minutes – Problem statement discussion. Identify gaps in info needed
- 30 Minutes – Define how the target user will make sense of your ideas for solutions
- 30 Minutes – Collate output into logical categories with gaps and actions
- 25 Minutes – Assign actions to the Project Plan
The Project Plan
The Kick off session defines the project plan. The plan usually runs for 12 weeks depending on the complexity of the collaboration project.
Kick off & Research
Week 1 - 3
Week 4 - 5
Capturing the concept
Week 6 - 9
Week 10 - 12
Creating the pitch
Building the roadmap
The collaborative workshop sessions are used for ideation. These sessions capture insights into the problem. There are three distinct outputs:
Here we do a lot of white boarding to capture the most relevant and interesting observations.
Here we identify key insights. They are often gut felt responses that make you re-consider, change opinion , or discover a new way of interpreting existing info.
Once we have formulated our insights we categorise them and create themes
Capturing the Concept
The Concept is a more polished and complete version of an Idea. At this stage the Concept is starting to look like a solution to the problem statement. Once we have categorised the insights we start documenting the concept in a tangible way:
- What is the name of the concept?
- Description of the concept
- How does the concept work?
- Who is the target audience?
- What value would it bring to the company?
- Are there any barriers or challenges to the concept?
- What are the key factors to success?
- A day in the life of the concept
Prototyping enables you to test if a concept looks, feels and functions in the way it was intended to, in order to identify improvement areas. Prototyping doesn’t only relate to physical products or software. It can be a process or screenshots via software such as Invision. Prototyping is the act of making a concept come to life.
There is a distinct difference between a pilot and a prototype. Prototypes are usually kept behind the V-Accelerator walls and focus on learning if the concept fulfills a need. A pilot is when you believe you have a solution and need to work around the wet paint with small user groups.
Creating the Prototype:
There are four steps in the prototype process:
Here we make assumptions and clarify our goals. We look at the time frame, budget and resource requirements
There are a few types of prototype that can be created:
This could be paper based, a presentation or a wireframe.
Looks like, feels like
This is an interactive prototype. It could be a physical simulation with a developed front end. Here we use tools such as Google Forms, IFFT, Alexa, Mailchimp, Link, Hi.Guru, for the front end. Back end implementations are usually more complex and at a prototype level this could often be manually hard coded e.g. pretend to ‘send an sms’ via the backend.
We also use great software tools to aid in creating quick prototypes before full development e.g. POP (Prototype on Paper), Keynote, Invision, HTML, WordPress, Hubspot, Slack etc.
Here we basically build a minimum viable product (MVP). In this prototype we generally only include core parts of the solution with a roadmap of features.
Here we make assumptions and clarify our goals. We look at the timeframe, budget and resource requirements
3. Run Prototype:
The prototype is run in the labs. In many cases we need to take care with the appropriate safety measures, equipment, uniforms or outside permissions e.g. launching a drone.
We consider the successes as well as the issues, we learn, iterate and optimise. This is an agile environment, we find answers and move on quickly.
Creating the Pitch
At this stage we arrange the graduation out of V-Accelerator.
Here the prototype is ready to be communicated to internal stakeholders, partners or even funders. We ensure that the following points are emphasised
We review staff skills and allocation, resources, funding and any other things needed to take the product to completion:
- Why the concept is different in less than 1 minute
- Do not get bogged down in tech details
- The story in a VC pitch style template covering all the elements of getting it to market, numbers etc
- List critical skills
- Partners to make things a reality
- Funding – Is adequate funding available or is access to investor funding needed?
. New products and businesses take a lot longer than the naturally optimistic entrepreneurs think. Plan for the long term!
- We ensure that the following points are emphasised.
Create a Roadmap
The roadmap includes documenting various areas in a project plan. The Minimum Viable Product acts as the base case to which a calendar with resources, costs, milestones and marketing are added.
Commercial & Legal
Here we build the legal partnership and commercial models. This could be an equity relationship, co-marketing and selling or simply a ‘go-on-your own’ scenario.