Week Zero – Why is it Necessary?

Having an idea is just the beginning. The crucial first step to making it a reality is validating that idea. To do this, we must first identify the problem, solution, and need/demand for said solution. The best ideas usually stem from a need that requires a solution, not a solution in search of a need.

To attain this goal, we will work closely with your team to break down and analyze your idea. The first thing we want to achieve is a shared understanding of the idea’s potential and real-world functionality. Later on, we will identify and discuss the idea’s flaws and what it would take for the idea to successfully enter the market. We call this part of the process “killing the baby”; it will either kill your idea or strengthen it.

All the actions mentioned above will take place during our onboarding process known as “Week Zero.”

During the Week Zero process, we will work closely with your team to evaluate every aspect of your idea, especially from a potential users’ point of view. The entire Week Zero process usually takes 2-4 weeks. Each Week Zero session only treats a single issue, this helps us focus all of our attention on one project and business model.

Here is an outline of what you can expect during each part of Week Zero:

  1. Braindump Session
  2. MindStorming Session
  3. Reflection & Synthesis
  4. User Interviews
  5. Deliverables from the Week Zero process

Braindump Session

The first day will consist of what we call a “Braindump.” This session is partially unstructured.
First, you will explain your idea, then we will ask questions about it and try to extract any relevant information that we need to know.

The information we collect from you will help us map out a “Golden Circle” of your idea; this means identifying:

  • The Why - why do you want to do this (realize this idea)
  • The How - how do you think this idea can become a reality
  • The What - what will people have at the end of this process (after the idea is realized)

Further discussion related to these points, as well as additional questions that will inevitably arise, will all help us formulate a testable/verifiable hypothesis that we will validate or invalidate.
This marks the end of the Braindump Session. Depending on the project’s complexity, this session will last from 1 to 3 days.

Tools: A live call via Zoom. Each participant should join the Zoom call.

MindStorming Session

After the Braindump Session, we move on to the ‘MindStorming’ phase. This phase is highly structured and requires participation from both teams. All participants should have their laptops available.

The call will be held using the Zoom App, and we will use the conceptboard app to write down a list of problems, Stakeholders, and solutions.

The methodology of work during the Mindstorming Session is as follows:

  • The session will be lead by a Bitsapphire member
  • Each round will last from 1 to 3 minutes max
  • Each participant will be asked to write as many ideas* as possible within that round
  • After each round, the leader of the session will only read notes aloud that require more explanation, and ask the authors of those notes to elaborate
  • These rounds are repeated 5-6 times until a satisfactory amount of ideas are compiled
  • An idea shouldn’t be longer than 6 words, but should still be as descriptive as possible

* What we write on the sticky notes will vary from session to session.

The three MindStorming sessions will cover:

  1. Problem Space Definition
  2. Stakeholder/Actors Space Definition
  3. Solution Space Definition

Problem Space Definition

During this session, we will list all the problems that would be solved if the idea is implemented, as well as problems that may develop during the implementation itself; factors that could go wrong, existing hurdles, technical difficulties, and so on.

Flushing out a problem can be challenging. It can be tempting to focus on the wrong part of the problem or look at the problem too broadly. Our job is to help you understand the problem and break it down into its simplest form.

Stakeholders/Actors Space Definition

During this session we will write down all parties that, either directly or indirectly, will be affected by this idea, during its implementation or afterwards. We will also try to include some of the segments of the possible target market. This is when target segmentation initially begins, but this segmentation process is ongoing and will eventually be altered depending on the overall findings from Week Zero.

This helps us prioritize later on, and know where to focus.

Solution Space Definition

Once we have several problems and Stakeholders in mind, we will list all the ways a solution can be reached. How can these problems be solved?

Example; Possibilities include:
Technical Solutions
Legal Government Solutions
Social Solutions

Reflection & Synthesis

After we’ve deduplicated & analyzed the sticky notes from the Mindstorming sessions, we will categorize them using the classical categorization method [link] and put them into groups. Just like the diagram below, there will be unique groups of Problems, Stakeholders, and Solutions.

From here, we attempt to identify the dependencies between the problem hypothesis and the groups created. To do that, we must first compare each Problem group to the hypothesis. This is accomplished by asking this question: If we assume that the problems of this group are solved, will that resolve the “problem hypothesis statement”? If the answer is no, we eliminate that group. We repeat this process until we find the most important group.

Second, we compare the group above with all the Stakeholders groups. We then determine which Stakeholders are affected the most by that group of problems, and eliminate the rest of the Stakeholders groups. At the end of this phase, we will know which problem group we should focus on first and which Stakeholders are the most affected by that group of problems. This way, we know who to call for user interviews.

Third, we identify which possible solutions apply to the problems we have highlighted. We now have all the pieces of the puzzle, and can proceed with user interviews, and test our hypothesis. This leads us towards designing a better user interview plan.

User Interviews

Why do we conduct user interviews during the Week Zero process?
User Interviews are the main component that allows us to test the following main points:

-Whether the hypothesis is proved or disproved
-Whether the problems we’ve highlighted match with the Stakeholders’ problems and concerns.
-Determine if there is a real need for the solution of the problem hypothesis.

User Interviews format:
During the interviews, we will be looking for problems the interviewees point out without being told what to say or what to think. We will try to have a conversation with them, rather than simply question or interrogate them. This helps create a more friendly and engaging environment and leads to more valuable information being disclosed.

After we conduct and analyze the information, we will compile the most important data in a Google Drive Document. We will then conduct a detailed discussion with you regarding each point.

Deliverables from the Week Zero process

All files will be held on a shared folder, in Google Drive.

  • An analysis file of the Braindump conversations, from the Bitsapphire researchers’ notes.
  • The Diagram file, containing all notes from the Mindstorming sessions, along with an additional diagram of “connected dots”.
  • An analysis document of the previous sessions and overall steps/recommendations for the future. This will be presented and discussed on a Zoom call.
  • An analysis document of all interviews held, along with individual recordings of each call. This will also be presented and discussed on a Zoom call.
  • The final Synthesis document, containing all of our findings and decisions based on that data.