The “Fake Doors” Approach to Innovation

I love Twitter! I come across all kinds of tidbits that get me thinking in new directions.The key is to follow smart people.

Case in point: Yesterday’s tweet from a fellow Lean thinker and tech exec I follow who lives in London included a link to a talk by Jess Lee, the co-founder and now CEO of Polyvore. (Thank you @ospandano!

In the 5-minute talk at the 2011 Ignite Lean Startup conference in San Francisco, Jess introduced one of Polyvore’s key success factors: the use of “fake doors” to conduct low cost, low risk idea testing. It’s rapid iteration at its finest.

Check it out below or on Vimeo.

I’m hooked by this concept and have been noodling about how to use it in improvement activities, whether daily kaizen, a structured Kaizen Event, an A3 problem, or a project of any sort—especially those that involve some sort of user experience, whether internal or external to the organization. While I don’t know when or where I’ll pull this out of my tool belt, I believe I was just introduced to a powerful new concept and wanted to share it with you. What do you think? How could we apply fake doors or something similar in the improvement work that we do?

(I also love the Ignite concept: each speaker gets a maximum of 5 minutes and 20 slides to tell his or her story – a  truly Lean talk! For more about Jess Lee, see this recent profile on  Huffington Post.)

by Funmi Alassan reply

Thanks for sharing, this is really insightful.

I am a product manager and it is really interesting to listen to Jess Lee talk about fake door testing, it is something i have started exploring. It really saves the time and effort spent building products that you are not sure users want. It is also useful when prioritizing the right products to deliver.

    by Karen Martin reply

    Glad you enjoyed!


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