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Canvas Network

New Venture Discovery: From Idea to Minimal Viable Product

Columbia Business School and Columbia University via Canvas Network

This course may be unavailable.


The New Venture Discovery course provides participants with an applied, practical course focusing on the development, testing, and validation of business models in support of new venture creation. For a new venture concept, business model issues are addressed in a fashion highly consistent with “lean” venture planning methodologies, including problem-solution identification, product-market fit, customer discovery, in-depth industry and market analysis, minimal viable product development, and startup success metrics.

At the highest level, you will come away with clear answers to the following questions.

  • What are common challenges to venture creation and how can they be mitigated through thoughtful business model development?
  • How do you develop a business model to test your assumptions about product offerings and market demand?
  • How do you create effective interview protocols and surveys to help validate your assumptions about customer problems (pain points), solutions, and benefits (expected gain)?
  • How do you assess your competitors’ business models in order to build best practices as well identify areas for differentiation for competitive advantage?
  • How do you develop a minimal viable product to gain additional feedback on core product performance features? Which metrics are critical to measure and validate business model assumptions?

The course uses a proprietary sequence of modules, tools, and worksheets to support the development of your new venture’s business model. You learn how to use a business model to brainstorm and design each part of your venture, from customer experience to early product development. Specific skill development and issues covered include:

  • Opportunity Identification - Articulating the problem to be solved and the potential benefit to the customer
  • Business Model Development - Turning your new venture idea into a business model designed to test and validate assumptions about what it takes to build repeatable and scalable business
  • Customer Discovery - Testing your assumptions about the alignment between your product offering and targeted market through interviews and surveys with early potential customers
  • Value Proposition - Synthesizing the unique benefits of new offerings through comparisons with the competition in the marketplace
  • Early Product Development - Building minimal viable products to test customer acceptance
  • Key Partners - Understanding your industry ecosystem in order to identify best practices and common challenges
  • Profit Models - Identifying revenue sources while minimizing cost factors
  • Startup Metrics - Identifying critical indicators for benchmarking, measuring, and monitoring

Taught by

Jack McGourty, Ph.D


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