Strategic Design for Startups

From observation, startups divide into two categories: innovation-push and need-driven. Innovation-push is about telling a novelty and triggering the interest of a potential user. Need-driven starts from a prospective user aiming to discover an uncovered need.

The fundamental difference is that Innovation-push based on the ability to innovate and convince. It tries to convince of a potential need. Where Need-driven approach based on the need recognition and expertise to provide a solution. It researches people for a specific subject.

In both cases, User Experience strives to create value by welding relations between multiple stakeholders; service providers, business owners, buyers, end-users. In general, User Experience tries to streamline the efforts of all parties. The discipline focuses on the goals of each party, bridging them in a meaningful, relevant, way.

At the beginning of the venture, companies that focus on a novelty, often,  do not have a clear vision. The technology they develop doesn't have the market fit. It considered a more complicated approach. During the establishment, the startup may pivot a couple of times until it finds the matching buyer and end-user. It also often leads to opening a new business niche.

The design tactics should focus on creative approach. A designer should experiment with ideas backed up by convincing, high fidelity prototypes. They do not need to look well, but they should convey a working product. In this process, many ideas discarded, and it can be frustrating. But important to remember that it is for good. At the stage of innovation, teams do not care much about how things look; they should work. The pleasant appearance is added value and works as a convincing point.

Mostly, need-driven ventures entering a market from an angle of solving some problem. The problem recognized from personal experience or trend observation on a larger scale. Often, at the early stage, such business is facing competition. Because of that, such companies should focus on the advantages of the brand.

The design strategy should concentrate on user research. In particular, observation of the user group on behavior and preferences. Designers should invest more on matching the taste and feelings, rather than emphasizing technology. In this case, people will not care much of how the product works; it just should cover their goals. The technology behind the product is less relevant. It a mechanical or electronic device does the job, important is does it seamlessly and with style.

Important to mention that the types are not strictly static, the state can transition from innovation to need and back.

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