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3I In Design Thinking

Melvyn Tan
Melvyn Tan
2 min read

In 2016, I pushed myself to do a few things that scare me. One of them was to launch an online course. It was a total failure but luckily it didn’t cost much.

Here’s what happened.

I have an idea

As creatives, we are always full of ideas. In fact, we have more ideas than we could possibly execute them. That’s why most of us wish we had more time to get everything done.

Having ideas isn’t a bad thing. However, not testing those ideas is.

I came up with the idea for an online course based on one of my successful courses.

You see, I conduct training for schools – I train teachers on systems thinking, personal mastery, and organizational excellence.

However, I knew that online training and training in the conventional sense is very different. How so?

Just ask yourself. How many times have you watched a YouTube video from start till end? Unless your life depended on it, I wouldn’t.

Online, you are in control of what’s going on. If the person in the video is speaking too slowly or too boring, you’ll click away! If whatever you are hearing is making your head hurts, you’ll click away!

Offline, or at least training in the conventional sense, people are unlikely to walk out of your training if you are boring. Besides, if their bosses are there and nodding in agreement with you, that would be career suicide if they did walked out.

Therefore, the first thing you need to do whenever you have an idea for an online course or a business, you should first test it.

Learning from design thinking

When you are presented with a problem, you should dive deeper into the problem. Seeking to understand what the real issues are. In design thinking, this is called the inspiration phase.

Only if you have a better understanding of the problem, do you proceed to the next phase. This is called the ideation phase. Here, you would brainstorm to come up with as many solutions as possible. It is at this stage, where you’d also test if those solutions will indeed solve the problem.

Once you are satisfied with the solution, you’d proceed to the next phase, implementation. At this phase, you would seek to help the affected parties embrace the solutions.

Spectacular failure

When I launched my first online course in 2016, it was a spectacular failure. No one signed up. I did had a friend who asked me if he could promote my course. I think he took pity on me.

While others may think that I’ve failed, I certainly didn’t felt that way.

Here’s what I did.

  • Draft outline: Once I had an idea for the course, I drafted an online for it. Just like I would if I am conducting the training.
  • Design landing page: With the outline, I then created a landing page to promote the course.
  • Run promotion campaign: I then began promoting through my networks, both online and offline, looking to drive people to the landing page.
  • Monitor results: I then sit back and watch what happens.

Two weeks of work

At the end of the two weeks, several people expressed their interests and that’s about it. Apart from learning that people were not interested in the subject matter, I have a started a relationship with this group of people.

Looks like a win to me. What do you think?

Melvyn Tan

Despite living the good life at midlife, I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. My aim here is to reinvent midlife, learn new skills, and understand how the world works post-COVID.