IDEO's General Manager, Tom Kelley, shares a case study demonstrating value opportunities that arise when designers, innovators, and entrepreneurs see with fresh eyes. He cites his company's challenge to design a new children's toothbrush. Rather than relying on industry assumptions, his team did hands-on field research and discovered new ideas on how children actually go about brushing their teeth. Subsequently, IDEO's new take on an old product became a bestseller for their client, and caused an industry-wide re-design by other toothbrush manufacturers.
Ann Winblad advises entrepreneurs to boil down their business plan and tell everyone in the company the top five assumptions for success. "As time goes on, turn the assumptions into facts," says Winblad. She also reminds entrepreneurs to constantly reevaluate these assumptions as their company moves forward.
Though Randy Komisar, KPCB partner and seasoned entrepreneur, proposes that most successful ventures do not find success in their initial business idea, he still maintains there is value in constructing a thoughtful initial plan. Any "Plan A" must flesh out your business' assumptions, challenges, and risk mitigation. Those critical first thoughts on paper help the entrepreneur to create a language with which to discuss their strategy and move forward.