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Design of a new mentorship process for startups for the Google Launchpad in Asturias.

We assisted Astur Valley in ensuring that the startups participating in the Asturias Google Launchpad receive the maximum possible benefit from the sessions with their mentors.

The goal

Leveraging the edition of the Google Launchpad Asturias, which took place in the city of Gijón, the organizing entities, Google Developer Group Asturias and Astur Valley (Asturian Association of Startups), asked us for assistance in redesigning the mentorship process during the 5-day event.

The Google Launchpad Program is a global startup acceleration program. Its main objective is to connect the most promising startups with expert mentors in UX, Product, and Technology. TeaCup Lab has been participating in the Google Launchpad since 2014 through our CEO, Stefano Serafinelli. He is a mentor in UX and Product, and over the years, he has been assisting entrepreneurs from all over the world.

Our challenge: ensuring that the startups of the Google Launchpad Asturias obtain the maximum possible benefit from the sessions with their mentors.

Specifically, we focused on two key aspects: selecting the most relevant topics for the mentorship sessions and being able to process the vast amount of feedback received to define a viable and impactful action plan.

Prioritize as the first step.

One of the main problems startups face is properly prioritizing the topics or issues to address.

Not having a clear business strategy can have significant consequences. Especially when a team is unable to correctly manage the diversity of opinions of its members and prioritize the next steps.

On one hand, this leads to a blockage. That is, the inability to make decisions. Or, on the contrary, making many decisions that are often contradictory.

Other times, however, the exchange of ideas and information among different team members is very limited. In these situations, alternative approaches might not even come to light.

Within the context of mentoring sessions, this causes some serious inconveniences such as:

  • causing experts to spend the little available time trying to make sense of the confusion. They have to mediate between teams instead of contributing their knowledge on the subject.
  • it can lead to generally trivial matters taking on much more importance. Or important issues going unnoticed.
  • it causes the prioritization of topics to be based on the rank of the person raising them (usually the CEO). This doesn't necessarily align with their actual or potential impact on the business.

Building a roadmap

We decided to tackle these issues by redesigning the entire mentoring process throughout each day. We divided it into 4 distinct phases. To do this, we borrowed some techniques that we usually use during our Design Sprints. These techniques help startups better understand their business and unlock key decisions.

We designed a brief workshop at the beginning of each mentoring day of the Google Launchpad. This workshop was dedicated to sharing information within the team. The goal was to identify problems and opportunities related to the specific topics of the day (UX, Product, Marketing, and Technology).

During this phase, startups worked to find answers to the following questions:

  • What do we know about today's topic?
  • What are the problems we face?
  • What opportunities do we identify for our business?
  • How does what we've defined on previous mentoring days influence what we'll do today?

Startups identified a range of topics. However, they had not yet made any decisions about which ones were priorities for them. To help them decide, we invited them to place them on a chart. They had to indicate for each topic the value it holds for the business and its users, and its technical difficulty.

Thanks to this exercise, the teams gained a clearer understanding of the potential of each aspect discussed during the first part. They were able to select the most relevant ones through voting. This enabled them to approach the next mentoring phase with the experts with greater confidence.

We also provided them with a template to collect feedback from the mentors. This way, they could assign it to each of the identified topics.

Using this simple tool, the teams were able to organize the advice they received. They were also able to create, at the end of each day, a clear action plan that reflected the importance of each topic and its feasibility.

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TeaCup Lab is a user experience consultancy agency founded in Madrid in 2016. We specialize in User Research & User testing for global brands.
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