Why You Shouldn't Fall in Love With Your First Idea

You have an idea.

It was an epiphany...that came in the shower, or while cooking, or 'came to you in a dream.' You've done some research, mapped out the customers, their problems, and how (more or less) you can solve it effectively. Now that you've interviewed a couple of customers, you have a good idea of what the next step is, and you execute!


You're missing one key step. Prototyping, which means having a design-specific mindset so you can increase your innovation and create unique business models.

"Prototyping is not just referring to the first idea. it's about exploring alternatives…opening the game."  - Yves Pigneur

The Value Proposition Canvas (VP Canvas), created by Yves Pigneur and Alex Osterwalder, is a key tool behind the 'Lean Startup' methodology. It is the basis for many accelerators and programs across North America. Entrepreneurs use it under the assumption that when you have an idea, you only have hypotheses. Hypotheses about your entire business model from customers, to suppliers to value propositions. And the only way to move forward is to test those hypotheses.

Where some entrepreneurs go astray is focusing on testing their one core idea. Using the VP canvas gives you two things: 1) A framework to outline and test your hypotheses and; 2) A way to test out different multiple ideas, rather than refining just one.

Instead of falling in love with your idea on day 1, look at the problem objectively. Encourage your team to discover multiple ideas and plan out how they can test them effectively and with low cost. If you can't look at your idea objectively, it leads to either heartbreak or another failed startup. Even pivoting slightly from your idea may not be enough to get it off the ground.

Put another way, prototyping gives you the power to say, 'we've explored other options and believe this is the best way to move forward.' It allows you to discover the best solution and design the best product for your customer. Yes ideas are important. No they aren't everything. Design. Test. Learn. Repeat. And don't fall in love too early.