Fuse and The Mission Group have been using the N2D Method® for product innovation. This is their story so far.


Vaudit: the story so far

The latest product in development at Fuse is called Vaudit; a new approach to video content evaluation. Vaudit will accelerate the creation of consistently effective film content. It will help brands to easily assess, identify and apply the components of successful content with the flexibility to create unique and relevant metrics for their own brand and sector.

The inspiration for the project came from a smart way of approaching business development. MISSION video production specialists Danny Fleet and Greg Delaney were conducting video audits to help them to start conversations with potential clients. They offered an analysis of content and the suggestion of new content that might help marketing teams. This enabled them to give something of value and demonstrate their expertise.

It soon became apparent that while the content suggestions were interesting and well-considered, what clients found really fascinating was the audit process and the results. Thus, the spark for Vaudit was ignited.

Over time ideas for additional features and functionality emerged, and Fuse started discussing potential development approaches with Danny and Greg.

Critically, Vaudit hit many of the criteria a new product idea for Fuse must meet:

  • The concept had been taken to Clients and was well received, it had early market validation
  • The concept could be streamlined, scaled and enhanced with technology
  • It played into a gap in the market against other evaluation tools

“Fuse quickly gave us access to brains and innovation intelligence across the group. It helped us to take advantage of capabilities, tools and the power of collaboration”

Danny Fleet

Getting started

Fuse’s unique position in MISSION allowed it to quickly assemble a multi-disciplinary team from Ethology, Bray Leino and krow. Fuse enlisted the help of MISSION partner Subsector to employ their innovation technique, the N2D Method®. The N2D Method helps Fuse with early-stage product design by providing a systematic framework for assessing ideas and concepts.

The N2D Method answers three critical questions:

  • What are the most valuable problems to solve for customers and our business?
  • What are the biggest opportunities?
  • What ideas and concepts should we prioritise?

Understanding customers

Critical to any innovation project is understanding the needs of customers and identifying which of those needs might be under or over-served. A group session, facilitated by Subsector surfaced the foundations for the project:

  • Business objectives
  • Identifying the customers who Vaudit would be designed to serve
  • Identifying the needs of those customers
Customer needs workshop
Customer needs workshop

This customer-first process forces teams, understandably eager to share ideas, to pause and consider the key principles of the project before allowing opinions and popular ideas to rise to the top. It also creates space and a mechanism for market validation and testing assumptions.

At this stage, the process split into two simultaneous threads, to allow the project to move quickly:

  1. Validation
  2. Ideas

Validation

Using some planning muscle from krow and the collective network of the Group, the validation process began. In this case, it took the form of a quantitative survey that allowed data to be fed back into the N2D Method. This process:

  • Confirms that the customer needs identified by the team are valid
  • Identifies which customer groups have these needs
  • Demonstrates how important the needs might be

The results of the survey allowed Subsector to input data into the N2D Method to create a data visualisation called a ‘Needs Matrix’. The Needs Matrix prioritises customers needs against two axes – the value to the customer groups and the value to the business.

Vaudit Needs Matrix - output from the N2D Method
Vaudit Needs Matrix – output from the N2D Method

Ideas

At the same time, a combined team from krow, Fuse and Ethology, with the help of Danny and Greg, plotted functions and features that the product could have. A busy session generated a whopping 98 feature ideas! All of which were to be considered in the creation of a test product.

Features and functionality planning session
Features and functionality planning session

Mapping out a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

With the Needs Matrix providing areas for focus, the next job was to streamline the myriad of brilliant ideas and map out a Minimal Viable Product so the product could move to a scoping stage.

Using a tool from the N2D Method called ‘The Initiative Scorecard’ a team from Fuse, krow and Subsector prioritised all 98 feature ideas in a day (powered by coffee and pizza).

To create a prioritised list, the Method takes into account how an idea might serve customers’ needs (weighted automatically by the Method) and impact of other critical business criteria – such as time to create, commercial value, investor attractiveness.

This simple but systematic process created a draft scope which will be used to stimulate the creation of wireframes and UI screens. These assets will be put into user testing in order to get more specific feedback on the features which have been shortlisted.

Vaudit is now at the exciting stage of being prepared to be put in front of real customers.

“We’re excited. It’s great to see this coming together. The collective brains of the group have allowed us to accelerate this process. N2D helped us enormously in helping us stripping our concept back to its foundations and bringing it back together. Being more objective and forcing us to interrogate our assumptions.”

Danny Fleet

We’ll write again in early 2020 to tell you all about the results.