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I think we have proven that practice promotes improvement. Last Wednesday we had another go at the all-important area of market research/idea development. I was left with a strong sense of how the process works, and I believe we also came up with some high-quality info on the challenges and opportunities of the business idea we were exploring, which was Urban Permaculture Design.
One of the temptations of interviewing possible clients is to attempt to sell them an idea without knowing what their needs and wants really are. It was apparent on Wednesday that a much more productive conversation happens when we get people to tell us what's inside their heads, which makes it easier to work with them and show them new ideas. Even knowing this, it was still difficult to elicit and draw out needs and desires - what Dave calls Eductive research - when we are full of great ideas and solutions. I think developing solutions and learning techniques before they are urgently called for is something we do for the joy of it, usually in our spare time (or maybe companies do R&D as an investment). Discovering unmet needs and meeting them is what we can do to make a living. Both are creative endeavours. One is very free, while the other is very focused and purposeful.
One of the challenges for Urban Permaculture Design we discovered the other night is that a lot of potential clients will start out wanting a yard design that will save them money on food, look beautiful and require relatively little work from them. All of this together may not leave much of an income for the designers and installers of PC landscapes, so Jill and I will need to look at how the business model can meet the challenge, including what sorts of agreements need to be set up.
We are now beginning to use the Right Livelihood Circle to help each other do intelligent business development. Sessions will probably be a little less structured now, with individuals bringing their challenges and ideas to the group for assistance. Among the things we can now do for each other, are:
And so we continue...