Simple Tips: Adapt and Iterate

By Erika Hovland

Have you run into trouble with your business model, product or service?  

This week I stopped by someone’s office in a business incubator.  They are commercializing a way to supply nanoparticles to help with things like disease detection. They have successfully created the product and are now focusing on developing a more repeatable, predictable process. There was a small glitch in the process while I was there, and so I had the pleasure of watching problem-solving iteration in action.

This burgeoning enterprise is literally housed in the garage – albeit a expansive one – of a large office building full of high-tech start ups.  (Talk about a splendid ‘origin of our start-up’ story)!  Their main production machine resembles something out of a 1950’s science fiction movie capped with a scuba diving helmet from the same era. And the three men who were tinkering with it have a combination of degrees and business launch experiences that would impress even the most cynical. Yet, there was a child-like joy in their faces as they debated the fix and how to proceed.

I couldn’t help but remark that this is the classic entrepreneurial approach to starting up, and how well it serves us to constantly iterate. Rather than forcing the results, this team accepted the evidence and sought to adapt.  Very quickly, the iterative process looked like this:

1. Identify problem

2. Brainstorm possible solution

3. Discuss pros/cons of preferred solution

4. Test

5. Record results

Repeat until the problem is resolved.

These simple steps can help you remove obstacles both large and small.  Rather than expecting the customer to change, or the results to change on their own, try IOLITE Global’s proprietary iterative “4C ” process to making a shift:

  • Clarify the actual problem.
  • Consider solutions. Bring in multiple viewpoints during the debate – and perhaps an outside perspective. Approach the debate with enthusiasm – if you didn’t have a problem, you wouldn’t have a chance to grow.
  • Choose a solution. Change just one thing at a time.
  • Check the outcome and record the results. And if what you changed doesn’t work, move on to the next solution.

And be sure to chronicle these tales of trials and tribulations as part of your growth.  This is your legendary “we walked uphill both ways — to school and back” story of overcoming obstacles.

Simple Tips: Adapt and Iterate