Phase 4

Deliver Live Services

Emergent solutions brought to the market

An overview of our design approach

The efforts of the previous phase centred on assessing the user, and value hypothesis of the propositions through testing with the market.

This work also provided the space for the organisation to evaluate the implications of the propositions and engage in new ethical discussions about the role of the organisation.

All these factors combined with a careful strategic assessment, resulted in the appropriate selection of engaging and relevant concepts to take forward to this final phase.

The task of this phase is to convert the concepts into live services that can operate as ‘minimum viable’ versions of their future potential, (meaning a service that functions just enough to meaningfully trial the value proposition).

In doing so, the lab connects real functioning services to real people in the market, assessing in an uncontrolled environment how users would engage, What they would find valuable and most critically for this final stage — what impact the services could have.

This stage, therefore, shows whether the value propositions can be converted into live services that are not just engaging, but also effective in delivering agency, happiness or health outcomes.

The theory

However, there was less complexity in terms of managing what is provocative or futuristic. At this point, the concepts to be tested and developed were already backcast to a tangible and unprovocative state for most users.

This final phase uses similar practical methodologies as the previous one. This innovation process is also about the testing and development of concepts to rapidly deliver them and it is largely tied to the lean development methodology.

Therefore, the methodology applied here was to build, measure and learn. 

  • Formulate hypotheses or assumptions based on the previous stage and build MVPs as experiments that could challenge these assumptions. 
  • Measure the outcomes of the experiment, collecting data and observations.
  • Synthesise learnings from the collected data to build knowledge, inform the overall concept and reformulate hypotheses to be tested in another cycle.

As with the previous stages the assumptions to be tested were of varying kinds.The three main categories were:

  • the user hypothesis (the target user segment appropriate);
  • the problem hypothesis (the problem identified is worth addressing); and,
  •  the value hypothesis (the solution for tackling the problem is engaging and effective).

These were all tested to a degree in the previous round, but here the user hypothesis and problem hypothesis can be more robustly challenged with the existence of functional prototypes and the value hypothesis can be more legitimately divided and assessed in terms of its effectiveness or impact and how engaging it is for users. In other words, this stage not only asks ‘do the users want it?’, but also, ‘Does it work for them?’. This level of exploration can only be conducted once you are able to prototype a user experience that can be used, rather than when it’s simply a proposition of a service.


The process

In this phase, the two units refer to two different organisational structures or vehicles for the development of live services. Unit 1 refers to work done in-house, and Unit 2 refers to work done through Innovation RCA (The RCA’s startup incubation centre). Broadly, both processes have the same objectives of going from developed value propositions into live services, but their initial steps vary.

For the in-house unit of work, the initial stages are about aligning the project with the clients organisational strategy and reframing the value proposition and hypotheses to get the most valuable placement of the service and the most meaningful research outcomes.

For the Innovation RCA unit, the initial stages are about the mechanics of forming a legal entity, setting up shareholder agreements and managing intellectual property etc.

Once these initial stages are worked through, both organisational options operate in a similar process of creating MVPs or prototypes that enable them to experiment with the market in some way, so as to prove or disprove their hypotheses. Based on these experiments they can interpret results, decipher new learnings and proceed in an increasingly less risky direction.

This process eventually leads to larger investments in the development of a product that can operate as an autonomous service in a live marketplace. The results of which enable the client and both types of organisational structure to robustly understand the value and the impact of the services they are developing, and can thus move forward decisively.


The direct application of this methodology


Live Services

Real, emergent services responsive to the future

Phase 4: Deliver Live Services

Choose a unit to explore

Unit 1: Developing Services In-House

Transforming the value propositions of the previous work package into live services to test their commercialisation in the market and their strategic value beyond monetisation.
Read more

Unit 2: Incubating in InnovationRCA

Turning a service concept into a functioning service that can exist in a live marketplace in a way that it can de-risk investment by incubating at InnovationRCA, the Royal College of Art’s centre for entrepreneurship and commercialisation.
Read more

Case Studies


Live Services


Hold is an app that gives people the personal space to let out whatever is on their mind and relax knowing that it is stored safely. It helps people give structure to their internal dialogue making self reflection become more effective.

Live Services


Edit is an app that helps you fill your daily routine with more positive actions than smoking. It’s not about quitting cold turkey or feeling like a patient. It’s just about trying new things and seeing if they work for you and your lifestyle.

Live Services


Quirk is a personal finance app that helps young people learn about and manage their finances according to their personality and interests so that they can ultimately make better financial decisions that align with their life goals.

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Let's find the place to think, the freedom to challenge and the capability to act on real change. Together.