How Validated Learning Will Change Your Edtech Startup
When was the last time you had a hunch that paid off?
Some people seem to have a sixth sense that helps them find an up-close parking space, win a little lottery money, or even come up with a tremendous business idea.
While it’s true that your subconscious recognizes and interprets patterns and even emotions, an empathic response won’t always help you run your edtech startup. Plenty of startups, like Theranos, have gone belly up because the CEO had a vision and followed a hunch rather than try, measure, and validate the product.
A successful lean startup philosophy requires validated learning for making concrete business decisions.
Validated learning in your edtech startup
Validated learning consists of determining if there is any value in your product.
Defensive entrepreneurs may immediately assure consumers and investors that yes, of course, the product brings value to the scene. That opinion is worthless unless there is substantial data to back it up.
Just how does an edtech entrepreneur acquire that validation?
He or she uses an agile process from the lean startup methodology. The process helps decision-makers determine what kind of progress they are making in meeting their goals. Validated learning consists of three steps: try it, measure it, validate it.
Just because you can build something doesn’t mean that you should. Eric Ries, the Lean Startup founder, insists that entrepreneurs ask not if something can be built, but if it should be built. If you can answer yes to the second question, you’re ready to try it.
You have to develop your product and get it to market. That means producing a streamlined version of your vision. You do the minimum possible before jumping into the deep end and committing untold time and resources to something that might not work. Anything else would be wastage.
That means more money in your pocket, either for the next iteration or another product.
The last time you took a trip, you probably checked your smartphone to see how far along you had gone and whether you’re were making good time in getting to your destination. You ought to be doing the same thing in your edtech startup. Assess how you’re coming along in meeting your business goals.
You won’t know how well you’re doing unless you measure your progress. Just like in education, you can use several forms of feedback to gauge your progress including checking on outcomes (data) and analyzing feedback (opinions).
In validated learning, you quickly determine what’s working and what’s not. Concentrate less on selling to educators and more on being productive. Stop doing what isn’t working and start focusing on being productive. Anything else is a distraction. You must adapt with agility to transform your product according to consumer need.
Nearly eight out of ten startups fail. They lose momentum for a variety of reasons including misalignment and wastefulness. Your edtech startup doesn’t have to be one of the failures. Rely on the validated learning process throughout the life of your product.