The answer almost always lies with the customer

Oct 09 2014

This week, my team who is working on global corruption took our first steps from the trough of sorrow, the sometimes-lengthy period of desperation that most every startup team goes through.

We were in the trough for a while once we faced the grim truth that business leaders probably wouldn’t want to talk to each other about their corrupt practices. This question came up again when we pitched our service for the first time: Would companies speak up?

After chatting with James Reimer, a former Cargill employee, last week, we had an idea but we were brimming with questions.

It got to the point where we formed a circle and spun ourselves around in swivel chairs, turning doubts into more questions. After a few agonizing hours of picking the concept apart, we realized that we didn’t have the answers.

But we knew where to find them.

Screen Shot 2014-10-06 at 12.11.37 PM

From left to right Pooja Kodavanti, Hannah Wang, Abby Reimer and Kris Kroi pitch their product at a workshop Oct. 3.

Our service brings interactive, effective compliance training to corporate employees. We connect human resources specialists with exclusive information about what their employees are really feeling. Many employees find compliance training boring and simply a means to an end. Our value, and hope, is that companies would want feedback from the people who work there.

There’s one question we know we’re going to get every time we pitch our project: “How do you know that’s true?” Though hope doesn’t answer the question, our users will.

If we don’t understand our target market, we don’t understand why we’re doing this in the first place. That’s where our surveys come in.

So there we were, a couple of days later, slouched on the couches in the back corner of the Lab, figuring out exactly what we wanted to know from HR specialists and employees in regards to compliance training.

What were some of their frustrations with current compliance training services? What did they wish they had?

And the big one: Would they pay to use our service?

We also added a new feature to our compliance training program. Business school students from around the globe could have the opportunity to complete the compliance training for that region. Their results would serve as a control or comparison tool, for HR specialists to better understand the ethical status of their company.

That produced even more questions: Would business school students want to be a part of this? What if this was an internship? A paid internship? Would it become a part of the business school curriculum? Do companies believe feedback from business school students is legitimate?

I think it’s safe to say that right now, we have more questions than answers. But we launched the survey last week.

And while you’re still here, if you’ve ever done compliance training, take a minute to tell us about it.


How can we move forward while waiting on IRB approval?

First pitch: The IRB application

Tackling global corruption: We have a value proposition

How might we address global corruption?

When you hit a wall, narrow down


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