AE Hackathon: get a crisp Value Proposition

All too often we see ideas for services or products that don’t really seem to solve a real problem. The pitfall for many hackathon participants, and innovators in general, is falling in love with the solution and not the problem. Utilize this pitstop to define a crisp value proposition with the Value Proposition Canvas (VPC) and finetune your idea.

What is the Value Proposition Canvas and why do we use it?

The Value Proposition Canvas is a tool to help you clarify whom a business idea is for and how it delivers value to them. This canvas offers a simple way to design products and services the customer really wants.

The main goal is to find a good fit between your customer segment and your solution, hence the two sides of the canvas (the customer segment side and the value proposition side). You can use the Empathy map as input for the right side (customer side) of your Value Proposition Canvas.

How do you fill in the Value Proposition Canvas? 8 steps towards a crisp Value Proposition.

Want to know how to prevent falling in love with your solution and not the problem? In the following part our Seth & Dunn coach Toon Herremans explains to you how to use the VPC to prevent that.

1. Download the Value Proposition Canvas

Print it as big as possible. You can also get creative and draw it yourself.

2. Identify the CUSTOMER JOBS

Describe what your specific customer is trying to get done. This could be in the form of: tasks, problems they are trying to solve or needs they are trying to satisfy.

3. Describe the PAINS of your customer

Identify the pains, the negative emotions, undesired costs or situations the customer could experience before, during and after getting their jobs done.

4. Sum up the PAIN RELIEVERS which can relieve the customers’ pains

Describe how the features of your products or services can eliminate some of the pains the customer experiences.

5. Determine the GAINS which can make the customers’ jobs pleasant

Determine the benefits the customer expects, desires or would be surprised by. e.g. Functional utility, social gains, positive emotions, and cost savings.

6. Figure out which GAIN CREATORS can realize the customers’ desired gains

Describe how the features of your products or services create customer gains / benefits.

7. Define your PRODUCTS / SERVICES which create value for the customer

Identify which products or services your team has or can offer in light of the value proposition (gain creators + pains relievers) you described.

8. Find the FIT between both sides

After filling out the canvas. Look at which pain relievers and gain creators can be mapped on the pains and gains of your customer. That is where you create value for your customer.

Tips & Tricks and avoiding common pitfalls

1. As already mentioned, use your empathy map as input to fill in the right side (customer side) of the Value Proposition Canvas.

2. Follow the rule: one value proposition canvas = one customer segment. This means, if you have multiple customer segments, there should be a VPC for each one. Mixing different segments in one canvas can prevent you from finding valuable insights.

3. While defining your pains and gains, always start from your customer jobs. Find a specific pain or gain for a specific customer job.

4. While defining your pain relievers don’t just negate your pains e.g. bad example: pain = costs too much à pain reliever = reduce costs . Really mention how you are going to solve the specific pain by listing features.

5. Use post-its to fill in the canvas. Your understanding of the customer will evolve when interacting with them. By using post-its it is easy to change your canvas.

6. Validate it with your customers. Use your canvas to interact with your customers and validate if the assumptions you made are true. More information on how to validate your assumptions is coming up in the following blog.

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