IDEO CoLab Ventures – an industry-leading design firm – has just announced a two day virtual Product Validation session for early-stage DeFi projects.

“On June 18–19th, 2020, IDEO CoLab Ventures will be hosting a virtual Product Validation Day to help DeFi founders determine whether to pursue, pivot, or kill new product concepts. IDEO will lead early-stage teams through a design research sprint, where they’ll talk to real end-users and collaborate with peers, experts, and mentors in the DeFi community.”

Just as the description suggests, this seminar is about as good as it gets when it comes to putting DeFi products through the wringer. For those who have yet to hear about the highly acclaimed team at IDEO CoLab, you may recognize some of the products they’ve helped shape including but not limited to Compound, Dharma, dYdX, PoolTogether, UMA, and 0X Protocol.

For those interested in getting involved, the submission deadline is next Sunday, May 31st at 11:59PST. If you’re part of an pre-launch or recent post-launch product, take advantage of this exciting opportunity by applying today.

On the DeFi front, IDEO recently made waves through the coining of a distribution framework called the SAFG – a way for projects to distribute tokens to their community by curating governance right from participation, rather than by giving them economic incentives which invite speculation.

If one thing is for sure, IDEO CoLab has their finger on the pulse and is now offering these insights to new teams as a trial run leading up to a DeFi Residency Program set to rival a16z and their newly announced crypto startup school.

User Feedback in DeFi

One of the more interesting parts of this seminar is that projects have the ability to signal what type of users they would like to receive feedback from. Ranging from end-users and developers with or without crypto experience, it’s interesting to consider how different products stack up relative to different audiences.

Seeing as DeFi is commonly pitched as a one-size-fits-all ecosystem, it’s fascinating for products to tailor their solutions to specific audiences as a competitive advantage. Using PoolTogether as an example, the no-loss gamified raffle system is extremely enticing for non-technical users who have no idea of how cryptocurrency lending and interest-earning assets like cTokens work. By abstracting these systems and providing a way to claim “tickets” simply by depositing Dai or USDC, we can envision a future in which new users can enter DeFi with little to no blockers.

Back at ETHDenver, IDEO CoLab hosted a similar exercise for a select few teams, one of which I had the pleasure of experiencing first-hand through our good friends at Zapper (formerly known as DeFiZap). From my perspective, it was clear this workshop helped the team hone in on their product’s strengths while clearly identifying their weaknesses. With these insights, DeFiZap was able to level-up and take it’s project to the next level, clearly exemplified by their recent merger to create Zapper.

Closing Thoughts

In an industry where we so commonly iterate and experiment on a rapid schedule, it’s extremely important to take a step back and get tried and true user feedback. While there’s no denying that DeFi products are getting easier to use by the day, we’ve still got a long way to go before they reach a mainstream audience.

For anyone looking to leapfrog into the booming DeFi ecosystem, we strongly recommend checking out this seminar and taking a few minutes to apply. With no cost and much to gain, you’d be hardpressed to find such a valuable opportunity like this again.

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