Why pre-study is important for social impact innovations?

BøthOfUs AB
5 min readNov 14, 2021


BøthOfUs AB

The problem

Social impact innovators, usually do not have lot of funding to implement the digital innovation, this leads to jumping straight into product (website, platform or apps) development with available fund rather than doing a proper pre-study.

On average when a social impact company jumps into product development without pre-study it results in €10,000 to €50,000 in loss over 2 year time period.

The awareness

State owned innovation agencies in EU, grant funds for proper research of market and pre-study. Innovation agencies knows the importance of pre-study, however the awareness is still lacking among social entrepreneurs, only few smart entrepreneurs see that proper pre-study help the product success by nearly 80% compared to products who do not do proper pre-study

Unicorn producing markets in EU such as Sweden, Denmark, Germany,Luxembourg focuses a lot into pre-study.

This article discusses in details

  • What is a pre-study
  • Types of pre-study
  • Who should do pre-study
  • What should be expected on a pre-study
  • How to use the pre-study results in product development

What is a pre-study

Pre-study is a smart way to use cognitive diversity to discuss innovation and come up with strategy to execute the innovation.

When any form of innovation is happening to solve a social issues be it digital or non-digital innovation the smart thing to do is to check the

  • Tech, design, market and legal feasibility of the idea
  • Market needs and benefits.
  • Social impact, the innovation will bring to society
  • Competitor analysis
  • Emotional mapping and etc…

Types of Pre-Study

There are few different type of pre-study

  • Digital pre-study ( Google design sprint to define scopes)
  • Market pre-study ( To understand the market)
  • Branding pre-study ( To define DNA of the product)
  • Growth hacking pre-study ( For product scaling up)
  • Strategy pre-study ( To define strategy)
  • Naming pre-study ( To define name of the product)
  • Exit strategy study ( To define the exit strategy)

Who should do pre-study

Any founders with vision and confidence to run a company long term usually do pre-study.

Pre-study is the right start of executing a project

The awareness is lacking a lot or founder do not want to be challenged by other innovators then they skip pre-study, both are dangerous since it is like plastering a sinking ship.

What should be expected on a pre-study

Different pre-studies might have different results, below is the example of digital product execution pre-study

The pre-study should cover:

  • Define the Problems to be solved.
  • Define the users the product is focused for.
  • Define the business models intended for the product.
  • Define the project trajectory for upcoming releases.
  • Define the intended features of the Product.
  • Define how a user will interact with the Product.

Following this, the scope for the Product and requirements for the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) will be documented in a Software Requirement Specification (SRS).

This SRS provides a clear guide for what needs to be developed. It can then be used to guide further development of the product, up to the initial release of the MVP.

Alongside this, ideate and outline what the user flows for the MVP might look like in the completed solution in deliverable wireframes.

Those prototypes should be then tested with real users and feedback should be collected to implement Double diamond design thinking process.

How to use the pre-study results in product development

  • Align team goals,
  • Solve design questions early,
  • Distill what the product essence is,
  • Save time discussing unnecessary features for MVP,
  • Increase team time to focus on innovation and shaping the product,
  • Allow for accurate estimation of product timelines and costs.
  • Follow double diamond method to give priority to users.

Always remember users are the King and Queen of the product so respect the feedback and align with business goals to redefine the MVP before starting the development of the project.

Step by step guide to pre-study

  1. First, start with understanding the problem that we are trying to solve and listening to experts on the problems.
  2. Following this, we conduct a market feasibility study to validate any assumptions we have.
  3. Next, map the nearest competitors to the product and start mood mapping analyses of the product.
  4. During this week, also go through the MOSCOW principles to narrow on what features will be crucial to the MVP and what features should be included in subsequent releases.
  5. By outlining this trajectory, compare the advantages and disadvantages of various technological solutions.
  6. In addition to this, prototype the wireframes and test the prototype on real users.
  7. These become part of a test report of the solution which will be part of the deliverables, alongside the SRS & wireframes prepared in the shorter workshops.
  8. These deliverables can be utilised in tandem to guide the direction and development of the product.

Workshops provide the product team a guideline to achieve the solutions which provides clarity in development and helps save time and cost on completing the project.

After finishing all the pre-study do not use outsourcing team with only tech and design competencies, it needs to be a team which can contribute to innovation and bring ideas to table or else the product development will lack innovation and it can lead to failure.

About us

BothOfUs, founded in 2017, is a company focused on accelerating Social Impact and Sustainable Development Projects.

BøthOfUs conducted 24 pre-studies in 2021

One of the key areas we support amazing change makers is in the Pre-study workshop phase.

BothOfUs Workshops are an in-depth pre-study of the product prior to the development of a product.

We bring together a cross-competency team, to bring a diverse understanding to the problem and to stimulate creative solutions.

The key competencies we look to bring focus on;

  1. Sustainability,
  2. Usability and branding.
  3. Tech and design
  4. Business.

Read more about us here

If this sounds interesting to you, let us know! We’d love to have a chat! Book a 30 min free call — https://calendly.com/kay_bothofus/intro

Kay Nag — Co-Founder


Marina — Spanish speaking countries

Joel Yeap — UK & English speaking countries

*********Thank you*********



BøthOfUs AB

Working on UN SDG goals and helping companies working on UN SDG goals with tech and design.