How to Test Your Idea: Start With The Most Critical Hypotheses

Thinking more about being practical and hence, achieving desired outcomes of Build, Measure, Learn.

leanlean startupmodelvalidation


To validate business ideas you need to perform many small experiments. At the centre of any one of these experiments should be a deep understanding of the most critical hypotheses and why you are testing them.

In the world of Lean Startup, the Build, Measure, Learn cycle is a means to an end to test the attractiveness of business ideas. Unfortunately, some innovators and entrepreneurs take the “Build” step too literally and immediately start building prototypes. However, at the centre of this cycle there is actually a step zero: shaping your idea and defining the most critical assumptions and hypotheses underlying it (Note: I’ll be interchanging between assumptions and hypotheses throughout the rest of the post).

  • Step n°1 |

    Think (& Hypothesize):

    Shape your idea (product, tech, market opportunity, etc.) into an attractive customer value proposition and prototype a potential profitable and scalable business model. Use the Value Proposition & Business Model Canvas to do this. Then ask: What are the critical assumptions and hypotheses that need to be true for this to work. Define assumptions as to desirability (market risk: will customers want it?); feasibility (tech & implementation risk: can I build/execute it?); and viability (financial risk: can I earn more money from it than it will cost me to build?).
    To test these assumptions/hypotheses you will perform many, many experiments. With your hypotheses mapped out, you can now start to move through the steps of the Build, Measure, Learn cycle:

    How to Test Your Idea: Start With The Most Critical Hypotheses image

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