November 11, 2015

Week 2 – Customer Development

By mary

Every week, the Mayo Clinic online learning innovation lab will be posting an update on their activity and progress. Here is Week #2.


The startup ecosystem likes to say, “Ideas are worthless, it is the execution that matters.” However, good ideas are still a critical starting point. To generate some interesting ideas on a deadline, we have engaged in an intense series of research activities and design exercises.

We interviewed many potential customers and experts. We reviewed active Mayo projects and assets like Ask Mayo Expert. We explored the broad competitive space and the general state of continued education for healthcare professionals.

Given that people are creative in different ways, we are taking a “diverge and converge” approach to our own team activities. In other words, team members have space to think, research and sketch on their own, and then we come back together to share and synthesize.

We also ran some structured design exercises called “design studios”, which are structured to get a lot of ideas out in a short time frame. One focused on new learning products that could be created using the content in Ask Mayo Expert. The second one dreamed up ideas related to the Mayo Sim center.

dasami-six-up.jpg-1024x576These exercises are meant to be fast and loose, letting ideas flow and trying to prevent the team from locking up by trying to be too perfect too early. To that end, everyone sketches.


In Week 2, we also began to look outside Mayo Clinic’s walls for customer learning. We began by interviewing 4 non-Mayo NP/PAs. Interestingly, we saw more similarities than differences. Continued education is primarily done at conferences, and most everyone was given time and budget to attend conferences of their choice. We also have observed that NP/PAs like to change specialities during their career. One difference between Mayo Clinic and NP/PAs in other organizations could best be described as “envy” for Mayo Clinic’s team-based approach to patient care, and the benefits that brings in terms of knowledge sharing across the team.


Weeks 2 and 3 are dedicated to brainstorming many ideas, and week 4 will be about choosing one to test.

This week we found ourselves circling around a few ideas related to video and some of the dynamics we have seen in team meetings, grand rounds, and conference interactions. We are also exploring cases approaches, new forms of simulation, the efficacy of virtual patient tools, and extensions to Ask Mayo Expert to help people discover what they don’t know.


Week 3 consists of further research, meetings with education innovators, refinement of Week 2 ideas, and brainstorming of additional ideas. By the end of week 3, we should have a narrowed down set of ideas, each with initial hypotheses around core elements such as value proposition, target customer, competition, business model, customer acquisition and more.

Tags: Customer Development, Weekly Updates


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