Collect efficient feedback with Edward de Bono’s thinking hats

Workshop participants put on a metaphorical coloured hat that symbolises a certain type of thinking. This allows to collect efficiently different types of feedback and avoid having an idea shot down for purely political reasons:

  1. Pitch Design team presents their idea and value proposition and/or  Business Model Canvas
  2. White hat (Information and data; neutral, objective;) Participants ask clarifying questions to fully understand the idea
  3. Black hat (Difficulties, weaknesses, dangers; spotting the risk): Participants write down why it’s a bad idea; collect one feedback after the other while participants read it out loud
  4. Yellow hat (Plus points, positives, opportunities) write down – collect
  5. Green hat Ideas, alternative possibilities; solutions to black hat problems. Open discussion, facilitator to write down feedback
  6. Evolve Design team evolves idea

Osterwalder 2014, p. 136 – 7

Three types of feedback

  1. Opinion (“I believe …”)
    • Good: Logical reasoning can improve ideas
    • Bad: Can lead pursuing pet ideas of people with more power
  2. Experience (“In our last project …”)
    • Good: Provide valuable learning that can prevent costly mistakes
    • Bad: Failing to realise that different contexts lead to different results
  3. Market facts (“We have data that …”)
    • Good: Provides input that reduces uncertainty and market risk
    • Bad: Measuring wrong or bad data can lead to missing out on a big opportunity

Osterwalder 2014, p. 134

8 Rules for interviews

  1. Adopt a beginner’s mind Listen with a “fresh pair of ears” and avoid interpretation. Explore unexpected jobs, pains, and gains in particular.
  2. Listen more than you talk Your goal is to listen and learn, not to inform, impress, or convince your customer of anything. Avoid wasting time talking about your own beliefs, because it’s at the expense of learning about your customer.
  3. Get facts, not opinions Don’t ask, “Would you…?” Ask, “When is the last time you have…?”
  4. Ask “why” to get real motivations Ask, “Why do you need to do…?” Ask, “Why is___important to you?” Ask, “Why is___such a pain?”
  5. The goal of customer insight interviews is not selling (even if a sale is involved); it’s about learning Don’t ask, “Would you buy our solution?” Ask “what are your decision criteria when you make a purchase of…?”
  6. Don’t mention solutions (i.e., your prototype value proposition) too early Don’t explain, “Our solution does…” Ask, “What are the most important things you are struggling with?”
  7. Follow up Get permission to keep your interviewee’s contact information to come back for more questions and answers or testing prototypes.
  8. Always open doors at the end Ask, “Who else should I talk to?”

Osterwalder 2014 p.112-3

Six techniques to gain customer insight

  1. The data detective – des research with secondary data eg customer data; analytics; industry reports
    1. Google Trends
    2. Google Keyword Planner
    3. Google Analytics
    4. Government Census Data, World Bank, IMF etc
    5. Third party research reports
    6. Social Media Analytics
    7. CRM system
  2. The journalist – Conversations/Interviews with customers 1:1 or even in focus groups;
  3. The anthropologist – Observational studies; diary studies
    1. (B2C) Stay/live with the family, participate in dailt routines, learn about what drives people
    2. (B2B) Work alongside, observe, what keeps these people awake at night?
    3. (B2C) Observe shopping behaviour
    4. (B2C) Shadow customer for one day
    5. (any) Find new ways of immersing yourself
  4. The impersonator – Step in the shoes of your customer; cognitive walkthrough
  5. The cocreator – Workshops
  6. The scientist – Experiments, A/B testing, user testing etc.

Osterwalder 2014, p. 106-115

Create possibilities quickly with Ad-Libs

Ad-libs are a great way to quickly shape alternative directions for your value proposition. They force you to pinpoint how exactly you are going to create value. Prototyope three to five different directions by filling out the blanks in the Ad-lib below

Our _____________ [product/service]
help(s) _____________ [customer segment]
who want to _________________ [customer jobs to be done]
by _________________ [verb: pain reducers]
and ________________ [verb: gain creators].
(Unlike ___________ [competing value proposition])

Osterwalder 2014, p.82

10 Prototyping Principles

  1. Make it visual and tangible (Don’t regress into the land of blahblahbla)
  2. Embrace a beginner’s mind
  3. Don’t fall in love with first ideas— create alternatives
  4. Feel comfortable in a “liquid state”
  5. Start with low fidelity, iterate, and refine
  6. Expose your work early —seek criticism
  7. Learn faster by failing early, often and cheaply
  8. Use creativity techniques
  9. Create “Shrek models” (Shrek models are extreme or outrageous prototypes that you are unlikely to build. Use them to spark debate and learning
  10. Track learnings, insights, and progress

Osterfelder 2014, p 78-9

10 characteristics of Great Value Propositions

  1. Are embedded in great business models
  2. Focus on the jobs, pains, and gains that matter most to customers
  3. Focus on unsatisfied jobs, unresolved pains, and unrealized gains
  4. Target few jobs, pains, and gains, but do so extremely well
  5. Go beyond functional jobs and address emotional and social jobs
  6. Align with how customers measure success
  7. Focus on jobs, pains, and gains that a lot of people have or that some will pay a lot of money for
  8. Differentiate from competition on jobs, pains, and gains that customers care about
  9. Outperform competition substantially on at least one dimension
  10. Are difficult to copy

Osterwalder 2014, p.72-3

Value Proposition Map and Customer profile (Jobs, pains, and gains)

A Value Proposition describes the benefits customers can expect from your products and services. The Value Map describes:

  • a list of all the Services and Products a value proposition is built around.
    • Physical/tangible
    • Intangible
    • Digital
    • Financial
  • Gain creators that describe how your products and services create customer gains
  • Pain Relievers that describe how your products and services alleviate customer pains

The customer segment profile describes a specific customer segmenr in your business model in a more structured and detailed way:

  • Gains describe the outcomes customers want to achieve or the concrete benefits they are seeking
    • Required gains (most basic functional gains)
    • Expected gains
    • Desired gains
    • Unexpected gains
  • Pains describe bad outcomes, risk, and obstacles related to customer jobs
    • Undesired outcomes, problems and characteristics
      • functional
      • emotional
      • ancillary
    • Obstacles
    • Risks (undesired potential outcomes)
  • Customer jobs describe what customers are trying to get done in their work and in their lives, as expressed in their own words
    • Types of jobs
      • Functional jobs: Trying to perform specific tasks
      • Social jobs: Trying to achieve/retain status or reputation
      • Personal/emotional jobs: Trying to achieve a specific emotional state such as feeling good or peace of mind
      • Supporting jobs: “Customers also perform supporting jobs in the context of purchasing and consuming value either as consumers or as professionals.
        • Buyer of value
        • Cocreator of value
        • Transferrer of value
    • Identifying ‘high value’ jobs (p.101) – Rank jobs according to whether they are
      • Important – Does failing the job lead to extreme pains? Does failing lead to missing out on essential gains?
      • Tangible – Can you feel the pain, see the gain?
      • Unsatisfied – Are there unresolved pains? Are there unrealized gains?
      • Lucrative – Are there many with this job, pain or gain or few who are willing to pay a lot?

You achieve Fit when your value map meets your customer profile – when your products and services produce pain relievers and gain creators that match one or more of the jobs, pains, and gains that are important to your customer.

From Osterwalder 2014, p.8-13

Design Thinking

Design Thinking is a people centered way of solving difficult problems. It follows a collaborative, team based, cross-disciplinary process. It uses a toolkit of methods and can be applied by anyone from the most seasoned corporate designers and executives to school children.

Design Thinking is an approach that seeks practical and innovative solutions to problems. It can be used to develop products, services, experiences, and strategy. It is an approach that allows designers to go beyond focusing on improving the appearance of things to provide a framework for solving complex problems. Design Thinking combines empathy for people and their context with tools to discover insight. It drives business value. (…) Design Thinkers observe users and their physical environments, interact with them with prototypes, and feed the outcomes of their experiences back into the design.


Design Thinking can be applied throughout the design process:

  1. Define intent
  2. Know context
  3. Know users
  4. Frame insights
  5. Explore concepts
  6. Make plans
  7. Deliver offering

From: Service Design: 250 essential methods by Robert A Curedale