We’re comfortable with the unknown We have to tackle new issues, which are often not tangible, differently to how we deal with what we’re familiar with. This is why, here at the PFLab, we base what we do on a process that is not connected to existing structures. Put simply, the process comprises three phases and two gates:
Our processOur approach
PFLab deals with new, often intangible issues. Our process is designed to deal with uncertainty, and to present new findings with limited resources within a short space of time.
Exploration involves identifying trends and signs, technologies and also problems and market requirements. By sharing, discussing and combining the information we have, we identify development areas that are then explored and fleshed out through ideas and innovation projects. This may, for instance, take place in the form of research projects, and go into another phase. Our development areas form the basis for the innovation fields we explore.
During the second phase, the innovation projects/assumptions are explored in greater depth, and solutions are developed and tested, even if they are still not overly sophisticated. Testing your solution early on and obtaining feedback on it enables progress to be made (or to abandon it entirely if it doesn’t work). In all three phases, especially experimentation, a good culture of failure can be a real asset. When it comes to experimentation, we use approaches and methods including:
- minimum viable product (MVP)
- (proof of concept (PoC)
- riskiest assumption tests (RAT)
- need validation tests and
- customer surveys.
Throughout the process, the key is to maintain your focus on your future customers.
In the third phase, the solution is tested in more detail on the market, but still using a MVP. This way, detailed market feedback on the project is obtained with minimal effort. This then enables you to work out which steps to take next, and your team can work iteratively on scaling your solution into a marketable product, or may even decide to abandon the project entirely.
PFLab puts every innovation project through this process, regardless of whether employees, start-ups, existing or soon-to-be-founded companies are behind the project, and not all of them succeed. This is because a decision is made at the end of each phase at the latest – though this is also an ongoing process based on what is actually known – as to whether there is reason to carry on with the project, or whether it should be abandoned.