Butterfly, Customer Development, Innovation

Sustaining passion and Butterfly’s development approach

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So I’m waiting at The Windmill restaurant on Selkirk Avenue in Winnipeg. Why I’m here is to talk to some incredible people from Aboriginal Youth Opportunities about Butterfly and the current iteration, and how we might work together. It has been about a year since a first talked to them about the idea, and I’ve touched base with them a few times since then to bring them up to speed on it’s development.

Now, this post is not about the iteration, or what we discussed in terms of next steps. I’ll write about the iteration itself after it’s completed and I’ve actually learned something from it. This post is about why the development approach (more here) we’ve embraced is important, and how it has sustained us to this point.

The first spark for Butterfly came to me while I was part of a session with Voices: Manitoba’s Youth in Care Network. It was through interacting and learning from this group of young people – comprised of youth both currently in and recently out of the foster care system in Manitoba – that this whole thing started. The idea was simple – create a service for young people where they can build, share, and resource their ideas.

In the beginning of your idea, passion comes easily. You’re excited, often other people get excited by it, and you’ll often get lots and lots of encouragement. However, passion is also fragile, and can quickly dissipate. So it needs to be treated carefully and it needs to be refueled.

So how does the idea of sustaining passion tie to our development approach? By continually talking with and exploring issues with your target clients/customers before building any features, through understanding and embracing their challenges, you are also building relationships. These relationships are essential and, because you are now both in one another’s orbits, you change because of these relationships.

Prior to Butterfly, I had never been to Selkirk Avenue. For those unfamiliar with Winnipeg, Selkirk Avenue it is part of Winnipeg’s “infamous” North End. I would have been afraid to go to Selkirk Avenue before starting Butterfly. Many of you reading this might be too. The truth is that, through building relationships with people who live near Selkirk Avenue – through our development process – I now frequently go to Selkirk Avenue, and am unafraid of spending time there.

It is only through building relationships that we can grow, change, and become unafraid. It is also through these same relationships that our passion for solving a problem – or creating new and incredible products and services – can be fueled and sustained.

You need more than you to get through this thing.

Chris

Butterfly Website

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