Discovery-driven planning is a practical tool that acknowledges the difference between planning for a new venture and planning for a more conventional line of business.
“These ideas are some of the most important tools of management and strategy that have ever been developed.”
— Clayton Christensen, Harvard Business School professor & author of The Innovator’s Dilemma
Strategic Ventures are Inherently Risky.
Unearthing implicit assumptions permits a company to test their validity before committing irreversibly to a venture.
Discovery-driven planning is a powerful tool for any significant strategic undertaking that is fraught with uncertainty – new-product or market ventures, technology development, joint ventures, strategic alliances, even major systems redevelopment. Unlike platform-based planning, in which much is known, discovery-driven planning forces managers to articulate what they don’t know, and it forces a discipline for learning. As a planning tool, it thus raises the visibility of the make-or-break uncertainties com-mon to new ventures and helps man-agers address them at the lowest possible cost.
Some Dangerous Implicit Assumptions
- Customers will buy our product because we think it’s a good product.
- Customers will buy our product because it’s technically superior.
- Customers will agree with our perception that the product is “great.”
- Customers run no risk in buying from us instead of continuing to buy from their past suppliers.
- The product will sell itself.
- Distributors are desperate to stock and service the product.
- We can develop the product on time and on budget.
- We will have no trouble attracting the right staff.
- Competitors will respond rationally.
- We can insulate our product from competition.
- We will be able to hold down prices while gaining share rapidly.
- The rest of our company will gladly support our strategy and provide help as needed.