What is a minimum viable product?

A MVP is a product or offering with the smallest set of features and functionality, sufficient to test the solution with its intended end-user. An MVP has just enough features to allow the user to complete a specific task and so test the assumptions of its inventor.

Why are minimum viable products important in innovation?

MVPs are important in innovation because they allow teams to validate their hypotheses about what customers value and how users interact with the product or solution. They can collect real-time feedback from users and adjust their solution accordingly. This saves cost and reduces risk by allowing teams to validate an idea without building an entire product. Putting an MVP in the hands of early-adopters for feedback enables teams to iterate and improve their solution early in the process and before incurring the full cost of production.

What are the key steps to designing an MVP?

There are four main steps to designing an MVP:

  1. Decide which buyer persona to design for.
  2. Create user stories, identify the 1-2 highest priority benefits of your offering, and create a feature set (include must-haves, plus one feature that will ‘delight’ your user).
  3. Design and build your MVP.
  4. Get your offering into the hands of the selected personas to test and learn what works.

What are examples of MVPs?

Airbnb began as the rental of a single room with an air mattress, a bed, and breakfast. Zappos founder Nick Swinmurm uploaded pictures he took of shoes in local stores to a website and when a user placed an order, he went to the store, bought the shoes, and shipped them. Dropbox created a short explainer video with an opportunity for users to subscribe.