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Book Reviews Design Product Management User Experience

Book review: The Really Good Idea Test

In her latest book, Julia Shalet describes a test which will help in finding out whether your idea is worth pursuing: “The Really Good Idea Test”. I’ve known and worked with Julia for a good few years now, and she’s got a wealth of experience working with companies and teams on developing their ideas and propositions. The Really Good Idea Test consists of 7 practical steps:

Write hypothesis

Identify risks

Create questions

Find interviewees

Measures & targets

Conduct interviews

Analyse and decide

For each of these steps Shalet provides templates and checklists, making these steps very accessible and intuitive as a result. You can, for instance, use the book’s introduction and closing checklists to ensure you do all the right things at the start and end of the interview. The ultimate goal of The Really Good Idea Test is to enable its readers and their businesses to make evidence based decisions.

For me, the first step – writing a hypothesis – is a critical one; turning your idea into a testable hypothesis that you can put to the Really Good Idea Test. Shalet helpfully breaks the hypothesis down into 4 components:

Goal – What are you trying to achieve overall? Decide what your own personal goal is before you begin working on your new idea.

The idea – A short idea of what it is you want to create (if you know).

The people who will benefit – Reference who has the problem, need or desire that you want to solve or meet.

The action – What you need these people to do so you can realise your goal.

In her book, Shalet shares this fictitious hypothesis example, in which she combines the above mentioned components:

“Our hypothesis is that we can generate full-price rentals in six months from all twenty empty shops if the right mix of traders are given free test trading opportunities within a broader programme of activity.”

Fast forward to Step 5 of The Really Good Idea Test: measures & targets. Shalet keeps the measuring simple but effective, helping you quickly evaluate the outcomes of your test:

Does the problem, need or desire exist?

YES – The problem, need or desire exist.

NO – The problem, need or desire doesn’t exist.

Are the existing solutions good enough to solve their problem / meet their needs or desires?

YES – The existing offerings give interviewees everything they need.

NO – Interviewees feel that there is room for another solution.

Are they prepared to take the necessary actions to get another solution?

YES – Interviewees have taken the action before (in parallel situations).

NO – Interviewees haven’t taken the action before.

(Optional) How do they feel about your idea?

YES – Interviewees expressed an interest in your idea.

NO – Interviewees weren’t that interested in your idea.

MAYBE – Interviews might be interested in your idea.

It’s important to set these measures before conducting your interviews with customers or users (Step 6 of The Really Good Idea Test), after which you can analyse the insights from your test, share the results and make a decision about whether to pursue your idea or not (Step 7 of The Really Good Idea Test).

Main learning point: “The Really Good Idea Test” is a great book for anyone who wants to test an idea. In the book, Shalet offers a comprehensive overview of the steps in testing your idea, combined with practical tips and pitfalls to avoid when putting The Really Good Idea Test into practice.

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