Building a successful Proof of Value – Part 2

In Part 1 of this article, we saw how the factors around putting the right checks and balances, listening to the right people and setting expectations are important to a good foundation for a PoV. In this sequel, we will focus on what forces go on the shape of such projects once they get started.

Innovating at exponential scale is not easy

Theranos positioned miniLab[1] as a tabletop device that can carry out a wide range of blood tests, including Zika virus. This was a revolutionary idea comparing to the massive infrastructure needed for test lab. Although Theranos wanted to miniaturize classic blood testing equipment hundred-fold, many of the components needed for miniLab were non-existent.

This goes to show that while a spirit of innovation is lofty, it can take a lot of time and effort before a new technology or concept can be completely understood before putting it into action. It will require a lot of trial-and-error and team should excise patience in the first few iterations so that there is a solid foundation to scale gradually. Endurance over Speed!

Pick a technology or part of it that’s viable

Miniaturizing the components were key to scaling down the miniLab for Theranos but in reality, there were no suppliers who could provide Theranos with that kind of technology. There is no evidence Theranos itself had all the working components down to desired specifications.

Technology adoption follows network effects wherewith increase in a number of developers, there is an increase in value back to the developer community. Depending on the maturity stage of the technology of your choice, your team may benefit from already available resources like libraries, best practices and developer forums.

Take, for instance, a Block-Chain based implementation – you may not need to build out a distributed ledger system from scratch. There are existing base components that you could leverage or even APIs that can handle core operations.

Compare and Contrast to demonstrate value

Now that you have all the components developed and ready to demonstrate to the customer, how do you demonstrate value? It’s great that you have understood the solution in principle and carved out a nice use case that potentially stands to gain a higher value albeit using different tech.

It’s usually easier to create excitement using cognitively pleasing tech like voice assisted virtual assistants or AR, but there are some which may not seem cool on the surface and needs a fair amount of articulation to relay its intended value.

For instance, if you are using a public ledger to store data; a related question may be around the value of storing data in a blockchain as opposed to storing it in an encrypted form in an OLTP database. Clearly, there lies the value of blockchain – it is not only secure but also altering data is difficult as several systems hold a copy of the ledger.

In essence, be prepared to articulate & highlight the true value. Rehearse your script for the demo and time it right – Strike when the iron is hot!

Thank you for reading this series and I hope you were able to take away some useful pointers. Are there any insights that you would like to share?

[1] https://techcrunch.com/2016/08/01/elizabeth-holmes-is-finally-presenting-her-technology-to-scientists-including-a-mini-lab/?_ga=2.263699084.1890000266.1550860241-1645654148.1550860241

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Gopikrishna Aravindan

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