For the past year, I hosted multiple ideation sessions around the Future of Shopping, where I had the honor of co-creating ideas with 50+ leaders in the retail industry. The goal of these sessions was to come up with one or more new startup concepts that could be relevant for each participant company.
You’re probably wondering: why is Bundl focusing on retail? The answer is easy. A lot is happening in the retail industry, and these are very exciting times to do business in this sector.
On one hand, we have sensational news articles telling us that the big e-commerce chains (Amazon, Alibaba, Bol.com,…) are eating away the revenue of ‘local retailers’. In Belgium, this loss is estimated to have been around € 5.5B for 2018, which could affect 30.000 jobs.
On the other hand, a lot of new retail scale-ups like Farfetch, Casper and WarbyParker are growing faster than ever. The latest was founded in 2010 and is now worth $1.75 billion, having raised $300 million of funding so far.
In this fast-changing market, there are big winners and even bigger losers. If you do nothing as a corporation, you risk falling to the bottom of the chain. But by launching a new retail venture, you have the chance of becoming one of the winners. Just like Heineken did with Beerwulf, Walmart with Jetblack, and Rabobank did with Tellow.
As we believe the workshop format is crucial for a valuable deliverable, we created multiple tools to make the retail venture ideation session successful every single time. Because we believe everyone active in the retail industry can benefit from these tools, we decided to share them with you.
Before jumping into each tool, I’d like to leave a few suggestions on how to make the best out of these exercises. Start by doing a deep-dive on your industry, and in other fields you are looking into exploring, prior to the session. It will help to spot new trends in the market and inspire new ideas.
I highly recommend inviting an expert in a certain industry or technology you’re interested in to join the session. Besides looking at the exercises from a different perspective, this expert will be a great help in facilitating the exercises in tool #3.
1. Shopper of Tomorrow Canvas
While shopping habits are radically changing, we found that the attitudes or mindsets underlying those behaviors are quite timeless. In a previous article, we explained how to identify four different customer attitudes, and analysed each one in depth:
Based on this framework, we created the Shopper of Tomorrow Canvas.
This exercise is done in two rounds, and in every round you work on each of the 4 attitudes, one at a time. This should be done in pairs. Every time you focus on a different attitude, you have 5 minutes to work on the exercise individually. Then you have another 5 minutes to share and pitch your ideas with your pair and generate new ideas together. The whole process should take about 1h20, in two rounds of 40 minutes each.
The goal of the first round of this exercise is to think ‘inside out’. From the knowledge you have about your company, think about how to map business challenges and opportunities linked to each shopping attitude.
In the second round, we’ll use the same canvas and the same partners, but this time the participants should think ‘outside-in’. Based on the trends & inspiring examples gathered in the deep-dive, they must generate new relevant ideas linked to the shopping attitudes.
- groups of 2
- 2 rounds
- 10 minutes / attitude: 5 min individual + 5 minutes in pairs
- 1h20 [2x (4x 10 min)]
2. Selection Canvas
The goal of the exercise is to help you develop the ideas generated with the Shopper of Tomorrow Canvas into clearer concepts, that are easier to communicate with the group. It will also generate some completely new ideas, as it will make you look at them from a different perspective.As this exercise is an extension of the Shopper of Tomorrow Canvas, you’ll be working in the same pairs. Start with selecting your favorite challenges & ideas from the Shopper of Tomorrow Canvas, then reframe and translate them into ‘How Might We’ (HMW) questions. The winning ideas can also be simply attached on the selection canvas and further enriched on the spot by new ideas that possibly pop up. This should take about 10 minutes. In the second part of this exercise, each duo presents its selection canvas to the group. Every pair has a maximum of 5 minutes to pitch.
- groups of 2
- 15 min/group (10min + 5 min)
3. Customer Journey Analysis
In this exercise, you will use different trending technologies as inspiration to find ways to either remove friction/increase efficiency or delight/improve the experience of your customers.
Depending on the size of the team you’re working with, you can divide the participants into equal groups for each trend. Every group works in two steps: 10 minutes individually, 10 minutes in group.
Afterward, one member of each group has 10 minutes to pitch the key insights of the exercise to the whole team.
Preferably, you would have an expert in each technology facilitating the respective group.
- 1 group per trend
- 20 min (2×10 min) + 10min/trend
4. New Venture Canvas
The last exercise is individual. But before you start working with this canvas, you go ‘idea shopping’. All the completed previous exercises should be hanging against the walls. You’ll need to collect all the ideas that you like (not only your own!).
Based on this short list of ideas, you can start creating and conceptualizing your new venture concept. In the end, you’ll have 2 minutes to pitch it & 1 minute for Q&A. So keep it straightforward and focussed. The best ventures always start with a niche market and a clear proposition linked to it.
- 50 min (10+40) + 3 min / person
After completing the last exercise, you should be equipped with enough ideas and insights for your next new venture. Consolidate all your learnings into a pitch and convince your leadership to take this to the next level!
If you have any questions about this methodology or corporate venturing, I would love to clear things out for you.
Reach out to email@example.com.