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  • Photo du rédacteurJente Smit

Padawan Blog #4, by Jente Smit

Dernière mise à jour : 10 févr. 2021


If there is one thing I learned in my internship, then it is the importance of validating by addressing people. Grab as many people as possible (unknown person X) by the hand and talk to them for 5 to 10 minutes.

What do you get out of it ...? A lot!


I am a person who has always learned in school education to deliver something fully worked out, to be cited afterwards on whether or not it is right. Afterwards you are usually awarded a point, and the process stops there for the rest. In innovation, however, it is about continuous testing of ideas, thoughts, drafts, concepts, etc. You don't have to wait until something is made, you only have to make something if you have already validated all your thoughts with people. Keep the validation as simple as possible, draw something visually (process, flow, etc.) and invest as little time as possible in the first instance. In this time of rapid change, the validation process is coming up more and more emphatically. There is no time left to make comprehensive analyzes, to predict customer behavior, or to come up with ideas for a specific problem. These cases result in long-term, risky and expensive processes with a high chance of failure. To avoid risk, it is therefore necessary to focus on validating ideas and assumptions. The time needed to move from innovative assumptions to real customer validation must be drastically shortened. Make no mistake: validation does not always have to be with customers, and does not have to cost much time and money. You can even catch your neighbor to do a customer validation!


I spoke a lot of people to validate a problem statement and possible solution for an internal start-up idea, which was very informal and easy. Here’s the impression of one of my interviewed people, namely Ali Chari: "I have been asked to join a validation of a business development by Innovation Jedi. Jente Smit welcomed me and interviewed me about some aspect of the business idea and about what I thought would be very important. The way she asked questions was if we were having a conversation between friends. I felt very comfortable saying what I really thought and I mostly felt heard. As a conclusion I would say I was impressed on how much of a value I could bring during the interview, certainly in the short period of timeframe we had. And that, with not demanding a lot of effort."


I will give you a second concrete example to clearly demonstrate this theory in practice. During my internship I took part in an idea competition on my own initiative. Before I submitted my idea during this process, I had short conversations with different people about what they thought of the idea and how I could improve it. Afterwards I submitted the idea and I was selected to participate in a co-creation day. I took the opportunity here to talk about my idea with as many people as possible during the co-creation moments, but also during lunch moments. It was initially completely interrupted by some, but on the basis of this validation and feedback I was able to optimally improve my idea. I was subsequently selected with my file to go to the final. Between submitting the file and pitching my idea, I could have chosen not to do any more validation. Instead, I again engaged in short conversations with professionals to give me further input on an approach. In this way I finally outlined processes and I could validate my idea with people who worked around the business of my idea (HR processes). I took the customer journey and my potential customers into account, and within this target group I interviewed so many people as possible to find out their needs. After that, I could adjust my solution again (iterations). In the end, I went through a lot of validation conversations (at idea level, pitch level, process level, etc.). These were all things that didn't cost me much time, but that did take my idea and pitch to a high level. My mentors are doing this continuously, they don’t wait for an opportunity to come, they create opportunities themselves! So, start asking and grabbing some random humans to get validation and make innovation happen!


We've had the pleasure to welcome Jente as the first ever intern of Innovation Jedi in 2019. Not only did she do a great job and bring to the team and the projects but in addition she made the extra effort to share her experience in her blog. As we are not that good in communication (.. as in running innovative projects) we would like to share what she lived (and how she lived it) with you as it probably gives a better idea of what and how we do it rather than plenty of marketing blabla. Enjoy reading .. and thank you very much Jente!

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