Should Medical Tourism Use Minimum Viable Product Methodology?
When new entrants announce their plans, we’ve all thought, “They’re not ready”. A press release or a minister announces the initiative…but progress rarely follows. This leaves the industry with word pollution and another loose end to explain to new customers.
Much of the industry noise is about destinations, which are fuzzy things to get our heads around in the absence of established destination brands. Pushing comparisons back to the product level encourages us all to become more specific. I’m for anything that puts focus back on consumers and the less fuzzy. I hope I have borrowed a good idea that captures those priorities: Minimum Viable Product, (MVP).
Don’t confuse “minimum” with “minimal” in the name. In our terms, it would mean, “What are the minimum product, service, quality, price advantages, value-adds and experience features that would draw real numbers of cross-border health travelers. There are no upper limits…it just establishes absolute minimums for coming to market.
What is MVP?
Minimum Viable Product, (MVP) started out as a way for technology start-ups to launch successful products more quickly. Now tangible products are developed in MVP terms. Project Management methodologies like AGILE and SCRUM are based on MVP. There is lots of existing research data and use cases to explore for those with initiative.
From Wikipedia: “The product is typically deployed to a subset of possible customers, such as early adopters that are thought to be more forgiving, more likely to give feedback, and able to grasp a product vision from an early prototype or marketing information.
It is a strategy targeted at avoiding building products that customers do not want, which seeks to maximize the information learned about the customer per dollar spent. "The minimum viable product is that version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort." The definition's use of the words maximum and minimum means it is decidedly not formulaic. It requires judgment to figure out, for any given context, what MVP makes sense.
MVP is not a minimal product. It is a strategy and process directed toward making and selling a product to customers. It is an iterative process of idea generation, prototyping, presentation, data collection, analysis and learning. The process is iterated until a desirable product-market fit is obtained, or until the product is deemed to be non-viable.”
How Would It Help?
There is lots of hyperbole in health travel and I have been harsh in calling it out. It could also help by being a way to talk about differences in health travel destination readiness less controversially. The framework of Minimum Viable Product (MVP), helps with the level of rancor, because it takes much of the fuzziness out of the conversation.
It also points toward positive action steps. I often tell clients that they’re not ready to come to market because they’re not ready generally. But, MVP gives them the chance to develop specific products that are ready. MVP helps with differentiation because MVP medical procedures are the likely source of comparative advantage.
Convincing providers to come to market only with medical & surgical products that are MVP-ready would be a great start.