Each final report is different because each product is different. In some cases the vision is very simple to explain, but the business model is complicated and takes several paragraphs. In other situations, the only way to explain things is with a diagram or with reference to outside research. Sometimes a working prototype is the most compelling.
Below is general guide to the kinds of information that might appear in your report. It is deliberate that there is not a specific required outline. We want you to discuss and debate with your team what makes the most sense for your project and then divide up the work among your team members
- Product or codename. Team members names and emails
- Tweet Length summary of the product
- Product, Service or other description. Very important that the listener understand what you are proposing. Many teams miss this. If the listener is vague or confused about what it is, they will be distracted for the rest of the presentation.
- Problem, or Opportunity, or How the world today sucks. A strong problem statement. What can be improved? What is the pain you are alleviating or pleasure you can deliver? Make sure it’s credible and serious enough that someone would actually pay for it.
- How does it work, what is the underlying magic, are there any interesting technology elements, what is non-obvious? The less text and the more diagrams, schematics or flowcharts, the better. If you have a prototype or demo to show that would be excellent as well.
- Sometimes it is useful to include an Elevator Pitch) for your product
- Key hypotheses, and whether they were proven or not. What type of hypothesis? (customer, problem, etc.) Any leap of faith? Which ones did you validate and which ones failed? By what evidence? Key experiments. Design and results of “out of the building ‘experiments”” to test hypotheses with multiple proven or disproven. It might be useful to list the key MVPs used. What tools and techniques did you use, what were the results? Which ones would you still like to validate? What dead ends did you pursue?
- A summary of the closest competitors. What might be your response to them? Why are you worried or not worried about them? * What similar products exist that would be competitors to your product? Can you analyze competitors using a feature grid? Does their existance support or refute your product ideas, how are you different or differentiated from them?
- Value Proposition in more detail. For specific segments what are the pain points? What is the value to the customer of alleviating that pain or providing that pleasure?
- What is the business model, what kind of pricing have you tested, are there any analogies with existing products or services you can use to justify, have you created a simple financial model to forecast growth?
- Who are your target customers or users and how might you reach them? Where do they congregate? What evidence do you have that they want and will use and will have benefit from what you are proposing?
- A visual mockup or good paper prototype to use in further experiments and as input to the design. It should include all the important screens and give the reader a sense of the product.
- Any web site, diagram, sketch, photograph, diagram or flow chart that would illustrate the product and the research. A diagram showing the flow of screen to screen in the user interface and explanation thereof.
- How confident are you in this product, how excited are you, what is needed next, what is the team’s recommendation, is there a pivot that you know you need, are you ready for seed funding, are you planning to apply for Spark?
- Strategy going forward: Immediate next steps; identified risks and ways of addressing them; reasons to believe this will be a fundable product going although further pivots will be needed
How to write an excellent report
Based on my experience in previous years, here are some general tips that will allow your report to stand out.
- Give consideration to visual appearance of the report, it should look professional.
- It should have a logical flow of an argument with an introduction and a conclusion. It should be readable as a stand alone document without reference to your presentation or previous homeworks in class.
- Try to have as much substance as you can based on outside research, meetings, references etc. Don’t be satisfied with just a few datapoints. Show that you’ve ‘done your homework’
- Your work is evaluated not just on whether you follow the steps or the format but based on whether you are being realistic and intellectually honest about your proposal. Would you actually pitch this to an Angel?
- Edit, edit, edit! Don’t include all your raw data (you have too much.) Include information that is meaningul to the case you are making and provide context and analysis so the significance of the information is understood.
- Report should be submitted as a pdf
- Length should be between up to 15 pages, including a title page. You may add supplemental information as an appendix, but the main part should stand on its own.