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How to Validate or Kill Your Idea in 4 Weeks


Is your idea worthwhile, or are you wasting your energy? Assemble an iTeam and find out!

template has become a useful working tool for startup entrepreneurs. It might not always apply and has its faults when applied to some bioscience and clinical ideas, like biopharma and medtech. However, it is a useful tool in digital health or clinical process improvement.

Here is a suggested way to validate or invalidate the underlying guesses that are the starting points of your canvas:

1. Identify a clinical champion, someone who will support your idea.

2. Assemble an iTeam (no more than five people).

3. Recruit a physician intrapreneur in residence (PIIR) to work with the team for four weeks, both face-to-face and remotely.

4. Week One: Educate the team about the business model canvas using online tools and YouTube videos. By the end of Week One, the iTeam should have identified a problem and a suggested solution and created a draft value proposition.

5. Week Two: Complete the remaining elements of the business model canvas and start to get stakeholder feedback.

6. Week Three: Continue to get feedback from stakeholders to validate or invalidate hypotheses.

7. Week Four: Get additional feedback. At the end of Week Four, require the team to present their commercial feasibility assessment findings, including a risk evaluation and mitigation analysis.

8. Future directions will depend on how the iTeam decides to proceed: Kill the idea, fix the idea and re-up for another four-week session, or proceed with a go-to-market strategy and rollout and testing.

CAUTION: Do not attempt this at home unless you can hand off the ideas to people who are willing to fund it and do something with it.

9. Use the results of the process to demonstrate proof of concept of both the innovation leadership process and the iTeam idea.

10. Find the money to pay people to scale and sustain the platform.

Try this at your place and see what happens. Worse case, you have killed a bunch of ideas and put a lot of people out of their misery.

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Victor J. Dzau, MD, gives expert advice
Victor J. Dzau, MD, gives expert advice