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How to test if the Internet of Things (IOT), Voice Control, Smart Home, Cloud Solutions and other…


I talk to a lot of companies that have a focus on using new technology trends as opportunities to evolve and extend their business. In some cases (often), it is a board member or the CEO who gets the idea that some of these trends is a way forward for the business to grow. Sometimes they have heard about something new at a conference they have attended, and they are excited to seize the opportunity.


The CEO gets back to the office and say something like:

“We need to use IOT”

“We should have a focus on making our products smart”

“Let’s make a cloud solution”

A lot of these new tech trends, like IOT, voice control and cloud solutions definitely hold a lot of business opportunities for a lot of companies — but just because you can put a chip in it does not mean it’s a good business move. It can actually hurt your business to blindly follow trends — for example just start making a cloud solution without having any idea if your customers will buy and use it. If you just start making a cloud solution because you have a feeling that this will create business value, you can easily spend a lot of money on something no one will want. A better way is to get some validation of the business value of the trend before you start building the product or service using the trend.

“Colorful rolls of scotch tape, scissors and sticky notes on a table” by

Jo Szczepanska



The following is a way to validate if a trend has business potential.

Hire a design and innovation company (Disclaimer: yes, I work at design-people which is a design and innovation company) to help you. Together you make a compressed and cost-effective visual prototyping process over about four weeks.

You will need the right and relevant people from each part of your organisation. The process should involve representatives from your sales, marketing and development teams who will feel that they are moving fast forward together.

The overall proces could look something like this:


Example of proces

The process should take you from idea to a visual prototype that can be tested on your key target group. This is how the process allows you to get answers to critical business questions. You generate ideas and use scenarios that are quickly prototyped / modelled, then evaluated with the target audience. This focus on customer value will allow you to kill “wild-shot ideas” before seizing development resources and get it right before you start throwing money at new tech trends.

The overall questions that will get answered in the process is:

  • Can X (insert tech trend) create value for our customers in real-life situation and will they use it?

  • Will the target group buy the new concept if we move on and actually build it?

Do this and you will have a direction and a validation on how the trend in focus can be a business opportunity for you.

Read more about the business value of design thinking