Start with Who
(not with Why)

Whose problems will you solve?

Whom do you wish to serve?
Whose lives will you enrich?

Without your offer, what would such people be doing? What would they need?
Alongside your offer, what else would they be doing? Needing? 

Think about the gaps:

  • What do they most want for themselves or the world?
  • What are they missing? Is the gap something in their awareness? Or does it fall in their blindspot? 

    Think not only about desire, but also about risk minimisation:
  • What do they least want for themselves or the world? 
  • What do they aim or intend or succeed in avoiding?

Ask yourself: am I thinking of specific human beings, be they adults, or children, or families, or some other form of group?

Am I being concrete about the pains and potential pleasures these people may feel? Do I know what I would ask a person like this, if we sat down today for an honest conversation? What am I most curious to learn from them, and about them?

Ask yourself:

Are these people real to me? Do I accept them, even when they are very different to me and my ways?


Next, consider the what

What will you offer such people?

What form does your offer take: Is it a product? a service? an experience? Is it a platform that brings together people with different assets or complementary aims?

Jobs To Be Done

What job does the offer perform for the people for whom you've designed it? Can it perform other jobs as well? Can it perform well for other kinds of people - if so, capture them as new "who"s. 

Does your offer relate to an existing category, or is it a whole new category?

Does your offer relate to an existing product or service or experience or platform? Is that relation intrinsic, or a matter of context?

How and where do people use it?
How will you know the offer will work as intended? Does it matter to the people you serve if the offer works differently, if it fulfils a different function in their lives?

The Value in their lives

If the offer works for such people, what will change?

Is the value pleasure, or some form of gain? Is it a reduction of harm or unpleasantness? Is the benefit temporary, or lasting? Is it reversible, or permanent? Can it be described in words? Can it be measured?


The Truth about Value

For value to be realisable by people, certain conditions may need to be present. Think through what those might be. What you uncover may change how you describe the who - enriching, for example, your understanding of the setting (social, cultural, economic, geographical, etc) of the people you wish to serve. Or it enhance your description of the offer. Notice everything you've assumed - captured it in words or pictures, somewhere on the canvas. 

The New Normal

Imagine there is a lasting change as a result of the value the offer creates. What does the lasting change look like? How do you imagine it, or evaluate it?

Is it a change in people’s capabilities? Their needs? Habits? Circumstances? Perspectives? Please note these changes in the purple triangle. Here, you are describing the “new normal” your offer has shaped. Consider how new behaviours & assumptions -- even norms -- arise as a result of lasting benefits.

The Frame for all of this: Us & the Wider World

Who makes such an offer?  Imagine it's a team: what is their purpose? What capabilities do they have? What are their values? What relationships do they maintain, or need to forge, enrich or deepen?

What’s true of the world that makes people need or want such an offer? What true of the world that makes the benefits in green valuable, the offer imaginable or viable, and makes the offer team a team that can be formed & sustained?

Bringing it all together

The story we tell in our business expresses the relationships of all the answers, one to the next. What story do you read? Is one that you believe in?

What more do you need or want to learn? What experiment can you organise to test assumptions or validate hunches? 

© 2015 Kate Hammer. All rights reserved. 

+++Join me for a storyFORMing workshop to build your skill in applying these questions artfully to your work. storyFORMing ultimately is a lens, just as design (done well) is a never-ending, participatory process.+++

London, UK Workshop: Nov 23 9.30am - 4.30pm

The basics of business storytelling

Book now via KILN





Copyright © 2013, Throughline Ltd. All rights reserved. Website created by Throughline.