On Saturday, we had the first paying customer for our newest product.
Tristan’s willingness to buy our new product is a significant milestone after nearly a year of mishaps and misfortune.
The trouble started during last year’s vacation in Canada, where I suffered a cracked finger, a torn lip, broken teeth, and a broken toe. Fortunately, these were all recoverable injuries, and the doctors patched me up nicely. But the scars remain as evidence, and it was a sign of more trouble to come.
After my vacation, I had to fire my Agility Scales team and terminate our Mind Settlers product. Despite two years of hard work and significant investments by other people and me, we had to face the fact that we had failed so far. Our users weren’t using our product. We were unable to get enough traction.
To recover from my financial losses, I doubled down on workshops and public speaking. I prioritized my new Shiftup brand, with its focus on innovation & agility, and created a two-day class that was very well-received by its early adopters. And then the Coronavirus came onto the stage. In a matter of weeks, all workshops and events were scrapped from my calendar. I was left with nothing.
Well, as they say, never waste a good crisis!
Perhaps COVID-19 was for me a blessing in disguise. When conferences and workshops dominate my calendar, it is easy to get complacent and forget about my future. When all I do is traveling and talking about innovation, I hardly have time to innovate myself. The Corona crisis forced me to stay home, with an empty calendar and practically no income. Unlike other trainers and consultants, I did not scramble to offer improvised online workshops. Instead, I decided to use my time to solve three of my biggest problems:
Can I pivot with Agility Scales and offer a new product with traction?
Can I create a workshop service for both facilitators and participants?
Can I switch to a new business model that allows me to work from home?
The answer is three times, “Yes.”
The Shiftup Qualification Program wasn’t born in one day. My ideas for its various bits and pieces emerged and coalesced over time. I’ve been telling our Shiftup team for almost a year that we need to move to a membership model rather than getting payments for individual events. I have been toying with alternatives to certification programs ever since I wrote about it in January. And I publicly spoke about gamification techniques for several years already.
So, what is the new product?
The Shiftup Qualification Program is a self-development journey focused on innovation & agility. You do everything that professionals already do, such as reading articles, watching videos, joining meetups, doing exercises, and attending webinars, but you do this together with like-minded people around the world.
The program offers you freedom of choice with just enough structure to guide you. It has a list of objectives, weekly player meetups, weekend bonuses, and surprises and exclusives to keep the players motivated. And the goal is to help you become qualified rather than certified.
As a Minimum Viable Product (MVP), the product is ugly, and working with it is sometimes a bit inconvenient. After all, it’s still only a working prototype. So far, my team and I focused on validating the mechanics of the idea, not the user experience. If you’re not an innovator or early adopter, this program is not for you. (Yet.)
But last Saturday’s first membership payment changed everything.
We now have evidence that some people love the idea. They are even willing to pay for the prototype!
To ensure that paying members get enough value out of the program, I am preparing an exclusive weekly webinar. You can see it as the masterclass and mentoring part of the program. I already have five webinars scheduled for the first people who sign up. If you want to join me, make sure you become a Shiftup Explorer member.
- Team Formation: team size, duration, multi-projecting, and diversity (20 May 2020, 18:00 CEST)
- Business Lifecycle: stages, cycles, and exploration vs. execution (28 May 2020, 9:00 CEST)
- Innovation Vortex: innovation practices, feedback cycles, iterations vs. increments (3 June 2020, 18:00 CEST)
- Business Models: canvases, models, disruptive vs. sustaining innovation (11 June 2020, 9:00 CEST)
- Lean Experiments: hypotheses, validation, continuous learning, mistakes vs. failures (17 June 2020, 18:00 CEST)
I’m sure I will be making good progress with the program in the summer. It seems I’m not going anywhere.
P.s. You get a 50% discount with your first payment. Use the coupon code memberships50 when you purchase the Explorer level membership in the webshop.