Running 4 experiments to reduce risks and uncertainty for Randstad’s new business idea

Would you invest time and money in developing a new business idea without validating it with actual customers? We know we would not. When you want to bring a new concept to the market, there are too many risks and uncertainties. At Koos, we help organisations identify and validate the riskiest and most important assumptions by doing user research and running experiments. For this project, we collaborated with Randstad, a global leader in the HR services industry, to create and test a new business idea within eight weeks.




Is there a market for career coaching as a paid service for people with secondary vocational education?


Transforming a raw business idea into a validated value proposition by clarifying what coaching specifications and price fit the target group best

A coaching proposition for people with secondary Vocational Education

Randstad connects talented people to employers across various sectors. Additionally, they want to ensure that people enjoy their job, feel confident in what they do and prepare them for what the future of work will bring. Training and coaching are meaningful ways to help people understand what motivates them, what they are skilled at and what professional opportunities they could pursue. However, most training and coaching offerings are currently targeted at higher-educated people. 

For this project, Randstad asked Koos to create and test a coaching proposition specifically targeted at people with secondary vocational education or in Dutch ‘Middelbaar Beroepsonderwijs’ (MBO).

Mapping and testing assumptions

The team broke the business idea down into smaller chunks of testable assumptions.

Together with Randstad, we identified five risky and vital assumptions regarding the desirability of the proposition. Several experiments were created to test these assumptions, from in-depth interviews to quantitative surveys. Doing and analysing these experiments allowed the team to validate, debunk or mark assumptions as uncertain, which need more research. The results helped Randstad make more accurate and confident decisions about what coaching specifications and price best fit the target group.

A great benefit of this project was that it went across several teams (IT, marketing, branding). This allowed us to align across teams and make decisions faster.

— Randstad NL Product Owner

Starting with ‘desirability’ assumptions

If you are familiar with The Law of Market Failure, you probably know that most business ideas fail, even if executed competently. At Koos, we believe that you should start reducing risks and uncertainties regarding the desirability of your business idea: do customers actually want this? By running experiments at an early stage, you learn what elements of your value proposition match and do not match customer needs. This prevents you from wasting time and money executing ideas that look good in theory but do not work in reality.

Exploring the business idea's potential

The team empathised with the target group by conducting in-depth interviews, expert stakeholder interviews and a survey (n=400+). These were focused on exploring customer context, needs, motivations, pains, gains and willingness to pay invest in orienting and growth in their career.

Three user profiles were identified through a cluster analysis based on the quantitative survey data and enriched with insights from the interviews. The results showed that a considerable part of the target group is interested in receiving help for orienting and growth in their career and is willing to pay for it. These insights allowed Randstad to decide to keep pursuing the business idea and start brainstorming on it.

Building several propositions and testing them both qualitative and quantitative

Research gave insight into what kind of help the target group is interested in and allowed the team to create several design guidelines for the coaching proposition. These guidelines were used as input for a brainstorming session with Randstad’s team. Five coaching propositions were selected based on business & customer value and feasibility. The propositions were used in two different experiments: qualitative user tests and a validation survey (n=150). Mockups of the value propositions were used during those experiments to understand if they matched the customer needs.

The workshops and reports were all very clear. Also, communication was effective and the project was well structured. Occasionally, the project felt like a pressure cooker, but Koos did a great job in taking all the stakeholders along.

— Randstad NL Senior UX Researcher

Next steps

The experiments showed that the business idea has potential; that is why Randstad is eager to continue exploring the product-market fit. The following steps in the process are to run experiments on a larger scale and test the actual behaviour of customers. For example, a fake door or an AB test are examples of experiments in which the customer is unaware that they are part of an experiment. Because in the end, it is not about what people say but what people do.

The brainpower behind this project

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Joris Hens

Our service designer combines the user's qualitative perception with quantitative data like no one else.
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