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New Venture Process

After working for two venture studios (including heading up incubation for one), we developed a 12 week innovation process that has been used on many projects.  The purpose of the process is to take an initial venture idea and rigorously transform it through six iterations into a viable business opportunity.  It builds on many concepts from Design Thinking, The Lean Startup, and Google Design Sprints.

Although the timing appears similar to the "startup bootcamp" model of many venture accelerators, the purpose of the New Venture Design Process is fundamentally different.  This is not taking a startup team and helping them refine their business to succeed.  Instead, it is taking a new idea for a business and validating whether it should ever be pursued in the first place.  If it an idea looks promising and is pre-validated here, it can then attract a team and go through a venture accelerator to operationalize it.

Here is how the process works:

  • Over the course of 12 weeks, there are 6 successive two-week Innovation Sprints

  • Each sprint relies on two primary assets:

    • a UX mockup of a potential solution

    • a New Venture Canvas of a potential business model

  • In each sprint, the UX mockup is shown to 5-7 target customers for recorded feedback

  • The interview results are digested and compiled as inputs to the next sprint

  • By sprint 4 or 5, a compelling and viable solution has emerged

  • The final UX mockup and NVC are the validated foundation for launching the venture


Although the Innovation Sprints discussed here can be used by any team, we have found that the process produces greater results when the research and ideation are led by people with considerable design and innovation expertise.  Anyone can and should be creative, but the synthesis into something both compelling and viable requires more specialized skills and experience.

Here is a typical schedule over two weeks:


Mon: Brainstorming and Research

Tue: Brainstorming and Research

Wed: Brainstorming and Research

Thu:  Brainstorming and Research

Fri: Building UX Mockup and Recruiting Customers


Mon: Building UX Mockup and Recruiting Customers

Tue: Building UX Mockup and Recruiting Customers

Wed: Building UX Mockup and Recruiting Customers

Thu: Customer Interviews

Fri: Team Debrief

For more detail about the New Venture Canvas, go here.

One example of a venture that came out of this process for a client is here.

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