rlc core hypothesis template

Core Hypothesis

In the context of the Rapid Learning Cycles framework, the Core Hypothesis is a short description of the product vision that the team develops during one of their first meetings together. The team develops it together so that all team members are aligned about the product’s most important objectives.

Every product idea has a hypothesis at the center that encapsulates the organization’s vision for the product. We call it the Core Hypothesis because it is unproven until the company has released a profitable product.

The Core Hypothesis has three dimensions:

  1. Customer: What customer value does the product deliver, and how does the customer interact with the product to realize that value?
  2. Technology: What core technologies will be used to deliver the value?
  3. Business: What is the business model? How will you turn this into a profitable business?

The Core Hypothesis will point the team toward some of the most important early learning they can do — develop better knowledge about the concept’s soundness as a product. The team will either validate the assumptions embedded in the Core Hypothesis or demonstrate that the product concept has some fundamental flaws before the company wastes much time and money on it.

Either of these outcomes is a win for the team and for the company. An early “no-go” decision spares precious R&D time for better programs.

The faster you can confirm the Core Hypothesis, the faster you can get your new product into customers’ hands.

Instructions for use of this Template:

  1. In Grid View, your team members can add their ideas for technical, customer and business elements of the Core Hypothesis into the Ideas row.
  2. The Project Leader uses these ideas to facilitate a discussion and captures the outcomes in the top row.

This will lead to a Core Hypothesis in this form: The (product name) uses (the technology) to deliver (the customer value) so that we get (the business value).

Learn more:

What to Do If Your Group Struggles to Find Its Core Hypothesis by Katherine Radeka

About the Rapid Learning Cycles Framework

The Rapid Learning Cycles framework accelerates innovation by helping teams make decisions at the right time with the right people and the best available knowledge. The framework was developed by Katherine Radeka and first fully explained in her book, The Shortest Distance Between You and Your New Product: How Innovators Use RLCs to Get Their Best Ideas to Market Faster. You can learn more about the framework at the Rapid Learning Cycles Institute.