How to put a baby in a corner and leave it there

Feb 05 2015

In general, a baby is known as something that comes into the world fresh and screaming.

In the Reese News Lab, a baby is an idea well-enough researched to be a viable, feasible and desirable product. Like real babies, we give our ideas the time, care and adoration they need to bloom.

So, let me lead you through the steps involved in the conception and birth of my team’s baby: Ask a question. Brainstorm answers for three days. Record them all. Pick one of those ideas. Refine that idea for four months. Launch the product.

Now as that baby is just about ready to take its first steps, put it down and leave it behind. Put it in the corner. I know it’s hard; just do it.

You are where the Weather Wager team was in January.

Jan. 1, we had a baby.

It manifested as an online, risk-free betting program for weather enthusiasts and gamers alike. In its most basic form, and to quote Vooza, it was like fantasy sports betting for the weather.

Weather Wager would incite engagement from consumers of news. It would call attention to local news. It would even give more relevance to localized weather.

Or so we thought. On Jan. 7, we left our baby in the corner.

Weather Wager had problems. It called for a unique audience that was under-researched and difficult to target effectively. The quirky idea did not resonate well with typical media organization buyers. And the online betting system may have even been illegal in certain states.

Back at square one, we have recommendations on what to do when you abandon your baby.

Step one: Reflect on your failure

Abandoning your baby is an extremely emotional experience. Despite these emotions, you must recognize that there is no room for regret.

To revisit a cliché saying, we learn more from failure than from success. Often, reflecting on your idea’s pitfalls and successes is a great way to move forward.

In Weather Wager’s case, we found that like every other product coming out of the Lab, we had a great passion. We wanted to better inform people so that they could make more educated decisions.

Step two: Once you have a new baby, don’t look back

It can be easy to revert back to an idea that is established. But you are better than that!

Initially, it was hard for the Weather Wager team to move forward. We attempted to use the same audience research and prototypes with our new ideas. But eventually, we learned that we truly needed to scrap everything and create a new plan.

A great way to do this is to set deadlines or goals each week. Whether that be creating a bare-bones prototype or surveying potential users, that does not matter. You just need one thing to hold yourself accountable for your new idea.

Step three: Enjoy every moment

When your baby is still in the stages of whining and waking up at 2 a.m., it becomes especially hard to not envy other people’s babies who may be walking and talking. Trust us, we know.

While announcements of grants, faculty support and subscribers floated around the Lab, we were empty handed. And it sucked.

In reality, there is no way for you to cover the ground you have lost immediately. Rather than rushing through ideation and prototyping, truly give yourself to the process and relish in every moment of your new baby.

Previously:

Watch Weather Wager’s pitch


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