Startup #46 – Levers

levers.jpg<- Love me some Flickr. 

Anywho, today I’m taking a departure from my usual consumer-focused startup ideas and going straight at the heart of one of the biggest issues in the business world.  A little backstory – I’m working on a redesign of one of our systems at work and I’ve got the fun task of generating the business requirements.  I’d like to come up with a simple story with three parts: what’s important for the users, what’s important for management, and how do we align the two.

My idea is a site where a business can examine an existing process, define the tradeoffs between the various features (the levers), and get a snapshot of what changes will make the biggest impact.  Wow, that sounds boring and vague, but here’s how it would work.  I’ll use the example process of “Subway determining if they should add an option to grill their sandwiches” to help explain.

  1. The project manager enters the various options into the system and the impact they have on each other.  For instance, “grilling the sandwich” will increase the amount of time the customer has to wait, will increase customer satisfaction, and will add an additional equipment cost.
  2. The system generates a survey that users can take to express how valuable each component is to them.  Example: “Would you be willing to wait an additional 2 minutes to have a grilled sub?”
  3. The system would also generate a survey for store managers to indicate what they are trying to achieve (i.e. “Rank the following in order of importance: Customer Satisfaction, Customer Turnover Time, Expenses”)
  4. Based on the input from the customers and the executives, the system could then generate a graph aligning the feedback from the customers with the management priorities, along with some levers that can be used for modeling various scenarios.  This graph will give an indication if this change is really best for their business (based on customer feedback and management priorities) or is it being done just because other competitors are doing it.

Don’t worry, I’m confused, too.  I’m leaving for Vegas tomorrow!  Woot. 



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