Your Edtech Startup Teacher Is a Feedback Loop
If your edtech startup is going to be successful, you’ll have to use feedback loops.
This recursive tool tells you how you’re doing. You already use feedback loops without even realizing it. A growling stomach tells you that you’re hungry, so you eat. Speed awareness signs tell you how fast you’re traveling; you adjust your speed accordingly. Even businesses have feedback loops. Consumers complain about a company on FB, and an ombudsman will step in to correct the dissatisfaction.
You can and should be making use of feedback loops in your edtech startup, too. As you develop your process, keep in mind that it must be specific, simple, and useful.
Anything else will waste your time and possibly send you in the wrong direction.
You can’t assume anything
Assuming that feedback loops are an unnecessary step can be disastrous to any innovation, regardless of how life-changing it may be. Some entrepreneurs are quite sure of their products and themselves. They’ve put everything they’ve got into the product, and they don’t want to slow down for a feedback loop. The distraction, they say, is something to put off until later.
Without feedback loops, there might not be a later.
That’s because the feedback loop defines your process, creating a pathway to making your edtech product viable.
How the feedback loop works
In the lean startup methodology, the feedback loop process consists of three steps: build-measure-learn. Eric Ries developed this model as a way to create new products, test them, and learn how consumers respond to them.
1. Build – Turn your concept into a product, not a prototype. Without a product, all you have is an idea. Everyone has one of those. You’re different because you want to bring your idea to life.
2. Measure – Gauge your product’s success by how your consumers respond to it. Can they live without it, or is it something they rave about. Why? Welcome their responses; they are helping you build your business.
3. Learn – Act on consumer response. In lean startup methodology terms, either pivot (make changes) or persevere (keep doing what you’re doing because it’s working).
The feedback loop is recursive and repeats itself endlessly as you develop each product iteration. Every step in the process teaches you how to respond. The feedback you get at each stage becomes invaluable. Without it, you’d be making assumptions in isolation, and there’s a real danger of going in the wrong direction.
What to do next
Education, on the other hand, is inclusive. Unlike many for-profit businesses, all stakeholders have a say is what happens in schools. Taxpayers, students, teachers, and administrators bring different points of view to the table. Ask for their opinions.
Each perspective will give you insight about your product’s ease of use, value in the classroom and beyond, and even the pricing structure you set. A teacher, for example, may love the app you’ve created, but the school administration may feel as though purchasing the app for everyone may be unfeasible. Parents might not see the value of time spent using the app.
The opinions you collect will guide you along your edtech startup path. You’ll know when to change wither the pricing or the features. Your marketing approach will become evident.
In education, we like to refer to the Theosophical saying, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” If you’re an edtech entrepreneur about to raise a startup, you’re in student mode. Fortunately, when you’re ready, the teacher, in the form of a feedback loop, will appear.