May 9, 2023

Testing the Commercial Viability of an Idea

Episode 198 of The Innovation Engine podcast.

On this episode of The Innovation Engine, we dive into the world of applied innovation and the critical process of testing the commercial viability of ideas. Discover the importance of striking the right balance between business viability and customer desirability, and explore the various frameworks and methodologies available to product development teams. Join us as we discuss the challenges and rewards of rigorously vetting ideas to ensure that high-quality concepts are selected and invested in, leading to impactful and successful products.

Our guests, Michael Rabjohns and Steven Cooper, bring a wealth of experience to the table. With over two decades in the digital product space, Michael serves as the Global Head of User Experience Research and Design at 3Pillar, having worked with companies ranging from startups to enterprise giants like Marriott, Calvin Klein, and Sapient Nitro. Steven, a Lead UX Designer in Michael’s group, has an impressive portfolio of successful product launches and has consulted and led teams at Accenture, Microsoft, Salesforce, Facebook, and Google. Alongside host Scott Varho, they provide unique insights and valuable advice on navigating the complex landscape of innovation and product development.

In this engaging conversation, we cover a wide array of topics, including the importance of understanding users and their needs, the role of execution and the necessity of pivoting or persevering based on user feedback, and various tools and techniques for user research and testing. By the end of this episode, listeners will have gained practical knowledge on how to approach the commercial viability of ideas, effective ways to communicate with stakeholders, and the crucial role that user testing plays in shaping successful products. So, whether you’re a seasoned product developer or just starting your innovation journey, this episode is packed with valuable insights you won’t want to miss!

Tune in to the full episode below.

Episode Highlights

  • Understanding the importance of both business viability and customer desirability
  • Core concepts of frameworks like design thinking, Jobs to be Done, and lean
  • The significance of humility and curiosity in exploring commercial viability
  • The importance of understanding users and their needs to design successful products
  • Removing subjectivity from decision-making using a scientific approach to product development
  • Tools and techniques for user research and testing (, Lookback, Dovetail, Miro, Figma, Ambition,
  • How to conduct effective user interviews and create a friendly, non-judgmental environment


About The Innovation Engine

Since 2014, 3Pillar has published The Innovation Engine, a podcast that sees a wide range of innovation experts come on to discuss topics that include technology, leadership, and company culture. You can download and subscribe to The Innovation Engine on Apple Podcasts. You can also tune in via the podcast’s home on Spotify to listen online, via Android or iOS, or on any device supporting a mobile browser.